BOSTON, MA -- Lincoln Memorial University head men's basketball coach Josh Schertz has been named a finalist for a pair of national coaching awards, as he was selected as one of the five finalists for the 2013 Jack Bennett Award as well as one of the 15 finalists for the 2013 Clarence "Big House" Gaines National Coach of the Year Award, officials announced earlier in the week.
This announcement comes just over a week removed from Schertz being tabbed as a finalist for the 2013 Red Auerbach College Coach of the Year Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top Jewish coach.
In addition to his recognition as a finalist for that award, Josh Schertz has been elected as one of the five finalists for the Jack Bennett Award. The Jack Bennett Award, which represents winning with integrity, is named in honor of the former head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Bennett led the Pointers to five Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles, five NCAA tournament appearances and finished his career with back-to-back national championships, the only two in school history.
Schertz will be joined on that short list of finalists by Bobby Collins (Winston-Salem State), Keith Dickson (Saint Anselm), Luke Reigel (Wisconsin Parkside) and Bob Semling (UW-Stevens Point).
For the second time in his career at Lincoln Memorial, Schertz was also placed among the 15 finalists for the 2013 Clarence "Big House" Gaines National Coach of the Year Award.
That award is presented annually to the top division II men's basketball coach. One of the true legends of all-time, Clarence Gaines retired from Winston-Salem State University in 1993 with a record of 828-446. At the time he was the winningest active basketball coach in NCAA history. During his 47-year tenure as coach and athletic director at WSSU he coached professional basketball greats Cleo Hill (first African-American from an historically black college and university to be drafted No. 1 by the National Basketball Association, St. Louis Hawks, 1961) and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Schertz was joined on that list by Lennie Acuff (Alabama Huntsville), Vince Alexander (USC Aiken), Tom Billeter (Augustana College), Derrick Clark (Metropolitan State), Bobby Collins (Winston Salem State), Jim Crutchfield (West Liberty), Keith Dickson (Saint Anselm), Tony Dominguez (Western Washington), Steve Hesser (Drury), Greg Kamansky (Cal Poly Pomona), Ryan Looney (Seattle Pacific), Matt Margenthaler (Minnesota State), James Stinson (Livingstone) and Fred Watson (Benedict).
Schertz was tabbed as a finalist for the Clarence "Big House" Gaines Award for the first time following the 2010-11 season after leading LMU to a 27-3 mark that included a South Atlantic Conference regular-season championship, a SAC tournament championship and the first NCAA Tournament berth in school history.
Schertz earned the nod as a finalist for both of these awards after leading the Railsplitters to a 25-6 overall mark, a SAC regular-season title and the program's third-consecutive NCAA Tournament berth during the 2012-13 campaign. For the second-straight season, the 'Splitters advanced to the round of 32 with a win over UNC Pembroke in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Southeast Regional.
Since his arrival at Lincoln Memorial, coach Josh Schertz has directed a meteoric rise to national prominence for the men's basketball program. In five seasons, Schertz has accumulated 112 wins with only 38 losses. To gain of sense of the impact that Schertz has made on the program, the Railsplitters accrued only 39 wins with 99 losses in the five seasons prior to Schertz's arrival.
Success has now become the norm at Lincoln Memorial, as the Railsplitters are riding several noteworthy streaks with the 2012-13 season in the books and the 2013-14 campaign on the horizon. LMU has run off four-straight 20-win seasons dating back to the 27-3 mark in 2010-11, which set the SAC record for league victories with 16. That season, the 'Splitters also set the school record for best start to a season, checking off 22-straight to open the year.
Also during the 2010-11 season, the Railsplitters began their consecutive-weeks ranked streak. On December 8, 2010, the 'Splitters broke into the NABC/Division II Coaches Poll for the first time in school history, coming in at No. 24. Since their introduction to the poll, Lincoln Memorial has not left, as they have rolled off a South Atlantic Conference record streak of 42-straight weeks ranked. On January 10, 2012, the Railsplitters reached the apex of that streak, becoming the first team in program or South Atlantic Conference history to garner the No. 1 ranking in the NABC/Division II Coaches Poll after getting out to a 14-0 start.
The winners of the 2013 Jack Bennett Award and the 2013 Clarence "Big House" Gaines National Coach of the Year will be announced on April 5 at the CollegeInsider.com awards banquet, slated to be held in Atlanta, site of the NCAA Basketball Championship.
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