NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After 33 years, 8 NCAA tournament appearances and 805 wins, Belmont honored it’s long-time head coach with a gesture that left him in tears.
When you play a game of basketball on at the Curb Event Center, you will now be playing on the “Rick Byrd Court.”
Byrd, in tears, thanked students, fans and dozens of former players who came back to celebrate their coach. Four former Belmont Athletic Directors, including the man who hired Byrd, Mike Trout, were all on hand to see him enshrined into Belmont history.
“You know when you ask people questions right after they won a big game, you don’t really know what to say? It’s kind of like that.It is meaningful when you spend 33 years somewhere and the school thinks enough of you as a basketball coach to do that,” said Byrd. “It’s about as good as it gets.”
It’s not a building, it’s not a banner, and my idea of re-naming the mascot was shut down (“The Belmont Byrds” has a nice ring to it!), but it’s a court. Not something you walk past or have a class inside of, but it’s a place where student-athletes for generations will play the sport they love on a court named after a guy who loved the sport even more.
“It’s going to be here for a while I think, and I’m going to look at it every time I’m in here.”