Northwest Missouri State head coach Ben McCollum has been named the Clarence “Big House” Gaines Division II National Coach of the Year as announced Friday by CollegeInsider, a national organization that covers all divisions of college basketball.
McCollum was tabbed the winner after completing a near 180-degree turnaround for the Bearcats going from 10th place to first place. He guided the Bearcats to a 22-7 finish and a 15-7 league record that culminated with a MIAA championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament.
His Bearcats led the MIAA in defense and free-throw percentage as three players earned All-MIAA accolades. McCollum also was honored by the league as MIAA Coach of the Year.
The third-year head coach was one of two nominees from the South Central Region and the lone MIAA representative. Midwestern State’s Nelson Haggerty was the other representative from the South Central Region.
McCollum was also nominated for the John McLendon Award, which was won by Savannah State’s Horace Broadnax. The John McLendon Award is given to the top collegiate coach in all divisions and honors the late John McLendon, who was a major contributor to the development of modern basketball, both on the college and professional levels.
McCollum is 44-38 in three seasons as a head coach, all at Northwest. The Storm Lake, Iowa, native got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Northwest under Steve Tappmeyer. After earning his master’s degree from Northwest, McCollum served as an assistant under David Moe at Emporia State before returning to Northwest prior to the 2009-10 season.
At the time of his hiring in 2009 he was the second-youngest active head coach in NCAA Division II. McCollum also played two seasons under Tappmeyer at Northwest, helping the Bearcats reach the program’s first-ever Elite Eight in 2002.
— NWMSU Sports Information —