KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WKRN) – Former Belmont University men’s basketball head coach Rick Byrd has been selected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021, according to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
According to the NABC, Coach Byrd will be joining the late Len Bias of Maryland, David Greenwood of UCLA, Hersey Hawkins of Bradley, Jim Jackson of Ohio State, Antawn Jamison of North Carolina, Paul Pierce of Kansas and coach Tom Penders in the Class of 2021.
Coach Byrd is a 2019 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction candidate and Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame inductee.
Byrd ranks 12th all-time among NCAA Division I head coaches with 805 wins. Byrd also led Belmont to national prominence in both NCAA Division I and NAIA.
Byrd, a Knoxville native, led Belmont to eight NCAA Tournament appearances and 17 conference championships in his final 14 years. He also retired first among NCAA Division I head coaches when ranked by percentage of schools’ all-time wins; Coach Byrd is responsible for 62.4 percent of Belmont’s total victories.
All honorees will be inducted in November 2021 in Kansas City at the 2021 National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame induction celebration.
The event serves as part of Kansas City’s Hall of Fame Weekend, which also includes the annual Hall of Fame Classic tournament.
Coach Byrd issued the following statement regarding news of his Hall of Fame selection.
It is really hard to express adequately my appreciation to the NABC and the College Basketball Hall of Fame committee for this most prestigious honor. The best I can do is say I am overwhelmed, humbled, and feel a great sense of gratitude to receive this ultimate recognition for those in our profession. Coaching basketball was all I ever wanted to do, and coaching college basketball was all I did for 42 years. It was my life-long work to coach young men, and to be honored by my peers for doing something I loved is more than I could have dared to hope for. The game of basketball has given me far more than I could ever give back.
There are so many to thank for their part in this honor. My family, the Belmont University family, friends, fans, and the many great coaches that I faced throughout the years who pushed me to improve my craft all have played a very significant role in my career. Much of the credit for this recognition is certainly due to the members of our coaching staff, as I was blessed with talented and loyal assistant coaches and support staff. Most importantly, however, this award was achieved because of the quality student-athletes I was honored to coach. This game is really about the players, and I was so fortunate to share many remarkable moments with these great young men over the past four decades. I hope each one of them know that this recognition has his name on it as well.