BOSTON, MA - Iona College men's basketball head coach Tim Cluess was named one of 15 finalists for the 2014 Hugh Durham Award announced Wednesday by CollegeInsider.com.
The Hugh Durham Award is given annually by CollegeInsider.com to the nation's top mid-major coach. The award is named in honor of Hugh Durham who had retired at the end of the 2004-05 season. Durham is one of just twelve coaches to have led two different programs to the NCAA Final Four (Florida State in 1972 and Georgia in 1983). He is the only coach among that group to have led both schools to their lone Final Four appearance.
The finalists include Mike Brennan (American), Rick Byrd (Belmont), Tim Cluess (Iona), Steve Hawkins (Western Michigan), Bob Hoffman (Mercer), Ron Hunter (Georgia State), Tony Jasick (IPFW), Tod Kowalczyk (Toledo), Gregg Marshall (Wichita State), LeVelle Moton (North Carolina Central), Jeff Neubauer (Eastern Kentucky), Saul Phillips (North Dakota State), Monte Ross (Delaware), Brad Underwood (Stephen F. Austin), Will Wade (Chattanooga).
Named the 2013-14 Pepsi Max MAAC Coach of the Year, Cluess led the Gaels to a program record fifth straight season with 20 or more wins including the last four under his direction. Iona finished the 2013-14 campaign with a 22-11 record following a nail-biting loss to Louisiana Tech in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament. The Maroon & Gold finished the MAAC regular season with a 17-3 mark, setting a new program standard for league wins and the regular season championship. The Gaels also participated in a postseason tournament for the fourth straight season, a stretch including a CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament championship game appearance in 2011, NCAA first round in 2012, NCAA second round in 2013 and the NIT this past year. With 92 victories in four seasons at Iona, Cluess is the fifth winningest coach in school history and just three shy of matching the late Jim Valvano on the program's wins list.
"It is always so difficult to limit the list of finalists," said CollegeInsider.com's Angela Lento. "This list could easily include 25 plus names."
The winner of the 2014 Durham award will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com Awards Banquet on April 4 in Dallas, site of the Division I Men's Basketball Championship.