March 13, 2013
BOSTON - Stony Brook men's basketball head coach Steve Pikiell has been named one of 21 finalists for the 2013 Hugh Durham Award, given to the National Mid-Major Coach of the Year, CollegeInsider.com announced Wednesday.
The Hugh Durham 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 2013 award will be presented at the CollegeInsider.com awards banquet in Atlanta, site of the men's NCAA Basketball Championship.
Heading into 2012-13, Pikiell was faced with having lost four talented seniors that well went on to sign professional contracts overseas. However, Pikiell was unfazed and developed his nine returning letterwinners and four incoming freshmen into the best team Stony Brook has ever had. The Seawolves went 24-7, compiling the program's most wins in its Div. I history, and finished 14-2 in America East for the second consecutive season to secure the program's third regular season championship in the last four years.
Pikiell's Seawolves do everything well, but they do one thing exceptionally well: play defense. The Seawolves currently sport the nation's fifth-best field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot only 37.5 percent, and the nation's 12th best scoring defense at 56.9 points allowed per game. On numerous occasions, the Seawolves held their opponents to season lows in shooting and scoring, no bigger than when Stony Brook held SUNY rival Binghamton to only 37 points and 26.4 percent shooting on Jan. 9, 2013.
The incredible season warranted numerous accolades as Pikiell's Seawolves swept the major America East awards. Pikiell was named America East Coach of the Year for the third time; Tommy Brenton was named America East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year; and Jameel Warney was named America East Rookie of the Year. Brenton was a first-team All-America East selection, Warney was placed on the second team and Dave Coley was put on the third team. All three represented the Seawolves on the America East All-Defensive team, signaling the respect that Stony Brook received for its historic defensive season.
Pikiell and the Seawolves will now enjoy their third postseason appearance in the last four years when they head to the National Invitation Tournament. Stony Brook will learn its draw on the NIT selection show Sunday night at 9 p.m., live on ESPNU.