NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball head coach Rick Byrd has been named one of America's Most Inspiring Coaches by Parade magazine.
Entering his 32nd season roaming the Belmont sidelines, Byrd has led the Bruin program to national prominence.
Belmont has earned postseason 11 of the last 12 seasons, including seven automatic berths to the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins have won 16 conference championships since 2006 - third-most nationally over that span (Gonzaga, Kansas) - and defeated the likes of North Carolina, Marquette, Stanford, Georgia, Missouri, Butler, Cincinnati and Alabama in recent years,
Belmont is one of only seven NCAA Division I programs outside the Power 5 to post Top 100 RPIs seven consecutive seasons (BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's (CA), San Diego State, VCU, Wichita State) and the Bruins have won 90 of their last 96 home games.
But Byrd's impact extends far beyond the playing surface, as Belmont has carved out an unrivaled track record of academic achievement.
Belmont boasts an NCAA-leading 15 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections since 2001 and is one of only three NCAA Division I programs to make the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Honor Roll every year of existence.
The Bruins have posted a team grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher 17 consecutive seasons with 149 academic all-conference honorees.
In fact, every player under Byrd in Belmont's NCAA Division I era who has exhausted his eligibility, has earned a degree.
Byrd enters the 2017-18 season ranked sixth among all active NCAA Division I head coaches in career victories with 754.
Joining Byrd on the list of America's Most Inspiring Coaches are former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback turned high school football coach Charlie Ward, Florida youth soccer coach Christina Wilder, and California high school baseball coach Chuck Hatfield.
Parade magazine is among the most widely read magazines in America. Parade is distributed by more than 700 of the country's finest newspapers, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, The Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, the New York Daily News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Tennessean, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, and The Washington Post.