Tennessee Originals

Tennessee Originals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball head coach emeritus Rick Byrd will receive the 2019 Pat Summitt Lifetime Achievement Award, the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame announced Wednesday.

Byrd, who announced his retirement in April following 38 years as a head coach, will be honored as part of the 2019 Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony June 15 at the Omni Nashville Hotel.

The Pat Summitt Lifetime Achievement Award is given to coaches who have led their teams in excellence, cultivating talent in athletes and are a shining example of mentorship and character within the sports industry.

David Williams, former Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor for Athletics And University Affairs and Athletics Director, will posthumously receive the Significant Historical Achievement Award.

"Rick Byrd and David Williams are two individuals who have built lasting legacies in the state of Tennessee through sports," said Phillip Fulmer, University of Tennessee Director of Athletics and Chairman of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. "The Hall is excited to honor their many accomplishments along with our other award winners and inductees at the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony."

A 2019 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction candidate and Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Byrd systematically led Belmont to national prominence in both NCAA Division I and NAIA.

Byrd's 805 career victories rank 12th all-time among NCAA Division I head coaches.

The Knoxville, Tennessee native and University of Tennessee graduate ('76) led Belmont to eight NCAA Tournament appearances (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2019) in the last 14 years, national top 25 poll votes eight of the last nine years and notable victories over the likes of North Carolina, UCLA, Marquette, Cincinnati, Alabama, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Missouri, Stanford, Butler and Temple, among others.

Byrd's career conference winning percentage of .797 (447-114) ranks second in NCAA Division I, behind only Mark Few of Gonzaga.

Under Byrd's leadership, the Bruin program was marked by sustained excellence, one of only nine NCAA Division I programs to win 19 or more games each of the last 14 seasons (BYU, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina and San Diego State).

But of even greater significance to Byrd, Belmont established an unparalleled standard of academic achievement among NCAA Division I programs. Since 2001, Belmont leads the nation in Academic All-America selections (17, including Dylan Windler in 2019) and is the only men's basketball program to rank among the nation's best every year since inception of the Academic Progress Rate (APR) in 2006.

Belmont has posted a team grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher 19 consecutive years and claimed the 'Academic National Championship' on InsiderHigherEd.com each of its last three NCAA Tournament appearances (2013, 2015, 2019).

Furthermore, in the NCAA Division I era, every Belmont player who completed eligibility under Byrd's watch earned his degree, and only two scholarship student-athletes transferred out the last 15 years.

Byrd served as NCAA Men's Basketball Rules' Committee Chairman from 2013-15, whereby sweeping measures including the reduction of the shot clock, expansion of the restricted arc for block/charge calls, and freedom of movement and pace of play were instituted.

Byrd received the 2012 NCAA Bob Frederick award for his lifelong commitment to sportsmanship, ethical conduct and fair play; Belmont has earned the OVC Team Sportsmanship Award four of the last seven years.

Belmont University men's basketball has earned postseason invitations 13 of the last 14 seasons, including eight berths to the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins have won 17 conference championships since 2006 - third-most nationally over that span (Gonzaga, Kansas). Belmont is one of only six NCAA Division I programs outside the Power 5 to post Top 100 RPIs nine consecutive seasons (BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's (CA), San Diego State, Wichita State). Belmont is one of only nine NCAA Division I programs to win 19 or more games 14 consecutive seasons (BYU, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, San Diego State). Belmont University men's basketball boasts an NCAA-leading 17 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.

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