Morehead State head men's basketball coach Preston Spradlin has been named a finalist of another head coaching award by CollegeInsider.com, the Jim Phelan Award. The award is bestowed upon the nation's top Division I head coach.
The Jim Phelan Award is named in honor of a legendary bow-tied coach who spent his entire career at Mount Saint Mary's University. He led the Mountaineers to the 1962 NCAA Men's Division II Basketball Championship. When he retired in 2003, after coaching for 49 years, he had amassed 830 wins (overall record of 830-524) in all divisions. In those 49 years, 19 of his teams amassed 20 or more wins in a season.
Spradlin, who along with his staff, led the Eagles to a 10-win improvement from 2019-20 and the 2021 Ohio Valley Conference championship, guided a title squad that had been picked to finish eighth in the preseason league poll. He was named OVC Coach of the Year.
The Eagles have won 19 of their last 20 games heading into their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010-11. Morehead State made the biggest turnaround in the nation according to KenPom rankings at +188 and made the largest improvement so far, +199, in the NET rankings since last spring.
The Eagles led the OVC in nearly every defensive stat category and ranked in the top two in the nation in blocked shots and rebounds. MSU players also garnered the most OVC weekly awards in program history (12), including nine Freshman of the Week honors by Johni Broome, who was named league Freshman of the Year and OVC Tournament MVP.
In keeping with strict team policies as well to stay healthy, MSU was one of 25 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball teams to play all 27 of its regular-season games.
Spradlin took over as interim head coach midway through the 2016-17 season and was named full time head coach following the season. He is an Alice Lloyd (Ky.) alum.