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Chris Holtmann Receives John McLendon Coach of the Year Award

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Chris Holtmann, head coach of the Butler Bulldogs, has been selected as the 2016-17 recipient of the John McLendon Award, presented annually by to college basketball’s coach of the year. The announcement was made late Tuesday, April 4.

The award is one of 17 presented by Holtmann was also a finalist for the Jim Phelan Coach of the Year Award and the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award.

Holtmann has led the Bulldogs to a 70-31 record in his three seasons as head coach at Butler, including a 25-9 mark this season. The Bulldogs advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2011. This marked the third consecutive season that Butler has made the NCAA Tournament and won at least one tournament game under Holtmann.

Picked to finish sixth in the preseason BIG EAST Conference Coaches Poll, Butler posted a 12-6 BIG EAST mark to place second in the league standings. Those same BIG EAST Conference coaches selected Holtmann as the BIG EAST Coach of the Year.

Photo: Butler Athletics/Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann

The McLendon Award is chosen by a 30-member committee of five Division I coaches, five retired coaches, 10 athletic directors and/or conference administrators, five members of the national media and five staffers.

The John McLendon Award is presented annually to the top collegiate head coach. The award encompasses Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA and JUCO.

A trailblazer and one of the true pioneers of the game, John McLendon became the first African American coach to win an integrated national championship. His team went on to win the NAIA Division I Men’s Tournament in 1957, 1958 and 1959, making him the first coach in history to win three consecutive NAIA championships.

In 1962, he became the first African American head coach in a major professional league (ABL) with the Cleveland Pipers. In 1966, he became the first African American head coach of predominantly-white university, when he took over the Cleveland State program. He led the team to their best record in school history.

In 1969, McLendon was hired by the Denver Rockets and became the first African American head coach in the American Basketball Association. After a brief stint with the Rockets, McLendon ended his 25-year professional coaching career with a winning percentage of .760 and a lifetime career average of 523 victories and 165 losses.

Chris Fultz is a Senior Writer for the Indiana Sports Report and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by Butler Athletics and has full media access. Follow @CafultzISR and the @IndySportsRep on Twitter.

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