Week 16: HoopDirt.com Coach of the Week presented by Just Play Solutions

By AJ Nelson, HoopDirt.com staff writer

Congratulations to the following coaches who have been selected as the Week 16 HoopDirt.com Coach of the Week presented by Just Play Solutions. These coaches are now eligible to receive the HoopDirt.com National Coach of the Year Award presented by Just Play Solutions which will be announced at the conclusion of the 2020-21 college basketball season.

This is the sixth season that HoopDirt.com has run the Coach of the Week and Coach of the Year programs. This season’s previous weekly winners, and a list of all-time COY winners can be found following this week’s honorees.

This season will be a bit different, however. As college basketball adjusts to life with COVID, so will we. Not every level will be honored on a weekly basis – we will honor as many of the levels as possible provided enough games are played. It’s different than in the past, but we still hope to have enough weekly winners at each level to name a Coach of the Year (NCAA DI, D2, D3, NAIA, and JUCO) at the end of the season

To nominate coaches for future weeks, please email [email protected] with your selection(s).

The Week 16 winners are:

NCAA DI: Rick Pitino – Iona College

Rick Pitino Despite multiple Covid-19 pauses throughout the regular season, including an NCAA-longest 51 day layoff, Coach Pitino’s Gaels claimed the MAAC Tournament title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament this week. Iona entered the MAAC Tournament as the 9-seed, and won four games in five days to take the title. The Gaels run included a 55-52 victory over top-seeded Siena and a 60-51 defeat of Fairfield in the championship game on Saturday. Having earned a 15-seed in the NCAA Tournament, Iona will carry its six game winning streak into a matchup with Alabama on Saturday afternoon.

NCAA DII: TJ Rosene – Emmanuel College (GA)

TJ Rosene With two impressive wins in the NCAA Division II National Tournament this past week, Coach Rosene’s squad has earned a spot in the Sweet 16. Emmanuel entered the tournament as a 4-seed, and knocked off 5th-seeded Queens by a score of 80-78 thanks to a last-second layup in the opening round. This victory set up a matchup with 1-seed Belmont Abbey, who the Lions had taken on five times during the season – most recently in the Conference Carolinas Championship, where Emmanuel lost 82-70. However, the Lions avenged this loss on Sunday, jumping out to a 15-point halftime lead and never looking back, coming away with a 76-53 victory. Emmanuel’s next contest comes on Tuesday against 2-seed Lincoln Memorial, with a trip to the Elite Eight on the line.

NCAA DIII: Ron Rose – Illinois Wesleyan University

Ron Rose Coach Rose guided Illinois Wesleyan to a huge victory over a top-5 opponent to win the CCIW Championship this week. After the Titans, ranked No. 8 in the D3hoops.com Top-15 Poll, defeated North Park in the CCIW quarterfinals and Elmhurst in the semifinals, they hit the road to take on No. 3 overall Wheaton for the conference championship. Illinois Wesleyan pulled away late to take a 71-58 victory, handing Wheaton their only loss of the season. With the win, the Titans claimed the first CCIW Championship in program history. They finished the Covid-shortened campaign with a record of 8-1.

NAIA: Steve Drabyn – Bethel University (IN)

Steve Drabyn Photo Coach Drabyn led Bethel to a pair of upsets in the NAIA National Tournament’s opening round this week, clinching a spot in the Final 16. The 21st-ranked Pilots led wire-to-wire in a 73-69 victory over No. 17 Texas A&M-Texarkana on Friday, but found themselves trailing No. 10 Providence by 11 points with just over six minutes remaining the following day. However, Bethel closed the game on a 24-9 run, taking an 85-81 victory and clinching a spot in the Final 16. The 22-10 Pilots are the 16-seed at the Final Site, and will take on No. 1 Indiana Wesleyan in Kansas City on Thursday.

JUCO: Mark Leslie – Trinity Valley Community College

Mark Leslie Coach Leslie’s Trinity Valley squad picked up three more wins this week, improving to 13-1 on the season. The 8th-ranked Cardinals kicked off the week by defeating No. 16 Panola by a score of 92-68. Trinity Valley then defeated Jacksonville College 90-81, and closed out the week with a 97-42 drubbing of Bossier Parish. After dropping their season opener, the Cardinals have won 13 straight contests. They will look to extend that streak when they face off against Tyler Junior College on the road on Wednesday.

2020-21 HoopDirt.com / Just Play Solutions Coach of the Week Winners

Week 1

NCAA DI: Mark Few – Gonzaga University
NCAA DII: Jeff Horner – Truman State University (MO)
NCAA DIII: Clif Carroll – University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (TX)
NAIA: Greg Tonagel – Indiana Wesleyan University
JUCO: No week 1 winner awarded

Week 2

NCAA DI: Mike Magpayo – UC Riverside
NCAA DII: Brian Good – Wingate University (NC)
NCAA DIII: No week 2 winner awarded
NAIA: Dugan Lyne – Martin Methodist College (TN)
JUCO: No week 2 winner awarded

Week 3

NCAA DI: Lamont Paris – Tennessee Chattanooga
NCAA DII: Mike DeGeorge – Colorado Mesa University
NCAA DIII: Neal Young – Covenant College (GA)
NAIA: Chris Dial – Our Lady of the Lake University (TX)
JUCO: No week 3 winner awarded

Week 4

NCAA DI: Chris Collins – Northwestern University
NCAA DII: Chad Warner – Flagler College (FL)
NCAA DIII: No week 4 winner awarded
NAIA: Danny Neville – University of Jamestown (ND)
JUCO: No week 4 winner awarded

Week 5

NCAA DI: Bryan Mullins – Southern Illinois University
NCAA DII: No winner – mandatory DII winter break
NCAA DIII: No week 5 winner awarded
NAIA: Mark Svagera – Briar Cliff University (IA)
JUCO: No week 5 winner awarded

Week 6

NCAA DI: Frank Haith – University of Tulsa
NCAA DII: Vinay Patel – Northwestern Oklahoma State University
NCAA DIII: No week 6 winner awarded
NAIA: Will Shouse – Asbury University (KY)
JUCO: No week 6 winner awarded

Week 7

NCAA DI: Shaka Smart – University of Texas
NCAA DII: Dan Ficke – Belmont Abbey College (NC)
NCAA DIII: Reni Mason – Louisiana College
NAIA: Delano Thomas – Shawnee State University (OH)
JUCO: No week 7 winner awarded

Week 8

NCAA DI: Isaac Brown – Wichita State
NCAA DII: Bubba Smith – Lee University (TN)
NCAA DIII: Damion Jablonski – Whitworth University (WA)
NAIA: Chris Wright – Talladega College (AL)
JUCO: No week 7 winner awarded

Week 9

NCAA DI: Tony Pujol – University of North Alabama
NCAA DII: Blake Flickner – Dallas Baptist University
NCAA DIII: Bill Sall – Calvin University (MI)
NAIA: Kyle Blankenship – LSU Shreveport
JUCO: Jeff Reinert – College of Southern Idaho

Week 10

NCAA DI: Lon Kruger – University of Oklahoma
NCAA DII: Kelvin Jefferson – Gannon University (PA)
NCAA DIII: Clay Nunley – Roanoke University (VA)
NAIA: Ryan Wall – Texas A&M – Texarkana
JUCO: Luke Strege – Mineral Area College (MO)

Week 11

NCAA DI: Dennis Gates – Cleveland State
NCAA DII: Johnny Estelle – Texas A&M Kingsville
NCAA DIII: Brooks Miller – Trine University (IN)
NAIA: Josh Gamblin – Mid-America Christian (OK)
JUCO: Brandon Giles – Polk State College (FL)

Week 12

NCAA DI: Scott Davenport – Bellamine University
NCAA DII (Co-Winner): Todd Eisner – Winona State University (MN)
NCAA DII (Co-Winner): Mike Helfer – Valdosta University (GA)
NCAA DIII: Bill Fenlon – DePauw University (IN)
NAIA: John Teasley – Stillman College (AL)
JUCO: Pete Pena – Pensacola State College (FL)

Week 13

NCAA DI: Casey Alexander – Belmont University
NCAA DII: Tobin Anderson – St. Thomas Aquinas College (NY)
NCAA DIII: John VanderWal – Marietta College (OH)
NAIA: Justin Newton -Reinhardt University (GA)
JUCO (Co-Winner): Bryan Bender – Southwest Mississippi CC
JUCO (Co-Winner): Matt Ridge – Davidson-Davie CC (NC)

Week 14

NCAA DI: Mike Boynton – Oklahoma State
NCAA DII: Ben McCollum – Northwest Missouri State
NCAA DIII: Scott Coval – DeSales University (PA)
NAIA: Marcus “Chief” Bryant – Keiser University (FL)
JUCO: Chris Parker – Arkansas State Mid-South

Week 15

NCAA DI: Todd Simon – Southern Utah University
NCAA DII: Brett Ballard – Washburn University (KS)
NCAA DIII: Aaron Greiss – Augsburg University (MN)
NAIA: John Henry – William Penn University (IA)
JUCO (Co-Winner): Joseph Eatmon – Shelton State College (AL)
JUCO (Co-Winner): Steve Green – South Plains College (TX)

Previous HoopDirt.com Coach of the Year Award Winners:

Division I

Division II

Division III




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About Just Play Solutions

Just Play Solutions has become the market leader in coaches’ workflow. A platform to help coaches prepare playbooks, automate scouting reports, research analytics, integrate and distribute video, manage recruiting workflow, and organize recruiting schedules. The end-to-end platform is used by over 700 customers across the country and internationally in football, basketball, and lacrosse.