Dan Muller has led the Redbirds to a 17-14 record in his first season as Illinois State men's basketball coach. (Photo by B Corbin/WJBC)
By WJBC Staff
BOSTON – Illinois State men’s basketball coach Dan Muller is one of 10 national finalists for the 2013 Joe B. Hall Award, which is presented annually to the top first-year coach in Division I college basketball.
In his first year as ISU’s head coach, Muller has guided the Redbirds to 17 victories and a sixth-place regular-season finish in the Missouri Valley Conference. ISU’s league wins include a victory at No. 16 Creighton, which marked ISU's first win over a nationally ranked team on the road since topping No. 17 Tulsa in 1985.
Muller, who led ISU to two Valley Tournament championships as a player from 1994-98, helped Jackie Carmichael, Tyler Brown and Johnny Hill earn league recognition. Thanks to Muller’s guidance, Carmichael is an MVC First-Team and All-Defensive Team selection, Brown is a Valley Second-Team honoree and Hill is a member of the MVC Most-Improved Team.
Along with Muller, the other nine finalists for the Joe B. Hall Award include Kevin Baggett (Rider), Jamion Christian (Mount St. Mary's), Mike Martin (Brown), Bashir Mason (Wagner), Kevin Ollie (Connecticut), Jack Perri (LIU-Brooklyn), Richard Pitino (FIU), Nick Robinson (Southern Utah), Travis Williams (Tennessee State).
The award is named in honor of Joe B. Hall who was given the task of following the legendary Adolph Rupp. In his first season at the University of Kentucky, Hall finished 20-8, won the SEC and advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals.
From 1972 to 1985 Hall would win two-thirds of his games (297-100), receive four SEC Coach of the Year honors and win a National Championship (1978). Along with the 1978 title, Hall also guided Kentucky to a runner-up finish to UCLA in the 1975 NCAA tournament, a Final Four appearance in the 1984 NCAA Tournament and an NIT championship in 1976. He won 8 Southeastern Conference regular season championships and one Southeastern Conference Tournament championship (1984).
Hall is one of only three men to win an NCAA championship as a player (1949- Kentucky) and coach (1978- Kentucky). The only others to achieve this feat are Bob Knight and Dean Smith.
The 2013 recipient will be announced on April 5 at the CollegeInsider.com awards banquet in Atlanta, site of the men's NCAA Basketball Championship.
Muller and the Redbirds enter the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament as the No. 6 seed and will face No. 3-seeded Northern Iowa in the last quarterfinal match-up Friday at 8:35 p.m., at the Scottrade Center. Tickets are available by calling (309) 438-8000.