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Ron Hunter (Georgia State) presents the 2012 Clarence "Big House" Gaines Award, to Northwest Missouri State's Ben McCollum, at the CollegeInsider.com Awards Banquet in New Orleans.

March 30, 2012


NEW ORLEANS, LA -- Northwest Missouri State's Ben McCollum is the recipient of the 2012 Clarence "Big House" Gaines National Coach of the Year award.

McCollum had one of the best turnarounds in the nation, leading the Bearcats from 10th place to first place, a 22-7 record, MIAA title and a berth in the NCAA tournament.

"Coach McCollum put his program back on the map this season," said Angela Lento, co-founder of CollegeInsider.com. "He returned home and, in a very short period of time, has been able to change the fortunes of the program."

McCollum, who played his college basketball at Northwest Missouri State, saw his team lead 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. He was hired in 2009.

The award is presented annually to the top division II men's basketball coach. One of the true legends of all-time, Clarence Gaines retired from Winston-Salem State University in 1993 with a record of 828-446. At the time he was the winningest active basketball coach in NCAA history. During his 47-year tenure as coach and athletic director at WSSU he coached professional basketball greats Cleo Hill (first African-American from an historically Black college and university to be drafted No. 1 by the National Basketball Association, St. Louis Hawks, 1961) and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

The award was presented at the CollegeInsider.com awards banquet in New Orleans, site of the men's NCAA Basketball Championship.


Lennie Acuff University of Alabama-Huntsville
Dave Bezold Northern Kentucky University
Jim Crutchfield West Liberty University
Scott Davenport Bellarmine University
Nelson Haggerty Midwestern State University
Cleo Hill, Jr. Shaw University
Brad Jackson Western Washington University
Todd Lee Kentucky Wesleyan College
Ben McCollum Northwest Missouri State University
Pryor Orser Colorado School of Mines

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