PHOENIX - UMBC's Ryan Odom is the recipient of the 2017 Joe B. Hall Award, which is presented annually to the top first-year coach in Division I.
After finishing 7-25 last season, Odom led UMBC (21-13) to its first winning season since 2007-08, when the Retrievers went to the NCAA Tournament. The 21 wins are the second most in school history and UMBC finished the year as the nation's third-most improved team, with a +13.0 mark, behind only Minnesota and UCLA.
"I would like to thank the committee for this prestigious award," Odom said. "It is a testament to the work that our players and staff put in all year. I'm humbled by this recognition and I'm extremely blessed to coach such great young men."
Prior to this season UMBC had never a won a postseason game. Odom's team posted three wins in the CIT and became the first America East team to win three games in a postseason tournament.
UMBC also smashed single-season marks for points and three-point field goals.
The award is named in the honor of Joe B. Hall who was given the task of following the legendary Adolph Rupp. In his first season at the University of Kentucky, Hall finished 20-8, won the SEC and advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals.
From 1972 to 1985 Hall would win two-thirds of his games (297-100), receive four SEC Coach of the Year honors and win a National Championship (1978). Along with the 1978 title, Hall also guided Kentucky to a runner-up finish to UCLA in the 1975 NCAA tournament, a Final Four appearance in the 1984 NCAA Tournament and an NIT championship in 1976. He won 8 Southeastern Conference regular season championships and one Southeastern Conference tournament championship (1984).
Hall is one of only three men to win an NCAA championship as a player (1949- Kentucky) and coach (1978- Kentucky). The only others to achieve this feat are Bob Knight and Dean Smith.
They Said It:
"Ryan is an excellent coach, but a better person," said UMBC Director of Athletics Tim Hall. "He has laid the foundation this year for sustained success. This award is confirmation that he is the right leader for Retriever men's basketball."
"Ryan Odom brought a new attitude and a new style to UMBC," said CollegeInsider.com's Angela Lento. "He changed the culture and won more games this season than the program had won in the previous three seasons combined."