Belmont Basketball has won 19 conference championships (11 regular season, eight tournament) since 2006. Nationally, only Gonzaga and Kansas have won more conference championships over that span.
Belmont has won six regular season titles and three conference tournament titles since joining the Ohio Valley Conference in 2013. That includes the 2020 OVC Championship - the latest high-drama triumph for Belmont over Murray State.
In 2014, Belmont joined an exclusive fraternity of programs to win five straight regular season conference championships. Since the Bruins became an NCAA Division I member institution in 1996-97, only Belmont, Butler, Cincinnati, Duke, Gonzaga, Harvard, Kansas, Nevada and Xavier have won five straight conference regular season championships.
The Bruins won the OVC regular season and – thanks to Kerron Johnson’s dramatic game-winning shot - tournament championships in their inaugural season in the Ohio Valley Conference in 2013.
In 2008, Belmont Basketball became the first school in Atlantic Sun Conference history to win three consecutive conference tournament championships. In fact, the Bruins won all five Atlantic Sun Tournament championships away from home.
Back in 2006, Justin Hare scored a career-high 32 points – including a game-tying three-point play in the final seconds of regulation – as Belmont defeated Lipscomb, 74-69 in overtime, to claim its first NCAA Tournament bid.
During its tradition-rich NAIA era, Belmont Basketball won numerous conference and district championships. Coach Byrd led the Bruins to back-to-back NAIA Final Fours in 1995 and 1996. The 1995 Bruins won 28 straight games were ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Belmont has won 338 games since 2007 – the most among all NCAA Division I programs from the state of Tennessee, including Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Memphis.
Belmont is one of only six NCAA Division I programs to win 19 or more games 15 consecutive seasons (Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, San Diego State).
Belmont is one of only six NCAA Division I programs outside the Power 5 to post Top 100 rankings 10 consecutive seasons (BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's (CA), San Diego State, Wichita State).
Belmont has 285 conference victories (includes tournament) since 2003 - second to Gonzaga nationally over that span.
Belmont has earned national Top 25 poll votes nine of the last 10 seasons.
Belmont was one of the 25 winningest programs in college basketball for the decade of 2010-19.
Basketball Times ranked Belmont as the No. 7 college basketball program in America in its 2017 ‘Top Programs’ rankings. Teams were ranked based on their 10-year winning percentages, number of former players in the NBA, team graduation rates, academic peer assessment scores, head coach rankings and program cleanliness.
Bleacher Report/Turner Broadcasting ranked Belmont as ‘One of the Top 7 Mid-Majors Programs’ of the last 20 years. Forbes Magazine also tabbed Belmont as the No. 6 men’s basketball program ‘For the Money’ in all of NCAA Division I.
And when it comes to playing at their best come championship time, few programs can duplicate the Bruins’ track record of winning during the most important time of the year. Over the last decade, Belmont has won over 80 percent of its games once the calendar turns to February.
One of the Bruins’ greatest sources of pride is a trademark of the top college basketball programs - consistent success away from home.
Belmont’s remarkable 180 road/neutral victories since 2006 ranks fifth nationally - behind only Gonzaga, Kansas, Duke and North Carolina. Belmont is 243-51 (.827) over the last 10 seasons in games outside the power five conferences
Belmont posted a program-best No. 24 final RPI in 2013.
A dual sport athlete in basketball and golf growing up in Indianapolis, Dylan Windler balanced PGA Tour aspirations with NBA dreams. But when passion met perseverance, Windler authored one of the great inspirational stories in college basketball history.
Windler led Belmont to 94 victories and three conference championships in his career, including Power 5 victories over UCLA, Georgia and Vanderbilt.
The 6-8 guard/forward ranked fourth nationally in offensive efficiency by noted statistician Ken Pomeroy (Brandon Clarke, Zion Williamson, Matt Rafferty) and became just the fourth Ohio Valley Conference player since 1971 to post at least 1,600 career points and 1,000 career rebounds (Popeye Jones, Kenneth Faried, Chris Horton).
As a senior in 2019, Windler led Belmont to 27 victories, the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament at-large bid, and NCAA Tournament victory. He was a finalist for the Julius Erving Award and would be the only player in America to average 20 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
Following his 35-point performance vs. Maryland in March Madness and an impressive showing at the NBA Draft Combine, on June 20, 2019, Windler would author more history. Windler was selected 26th overall in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Indiana native became Belmont's first NBA draft choice since 1972 (Joe Gaines), and joined the likes of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Pascal Siakam as NBA first-round selections in the decade of the 2010s outside power conferences.
Few players in the history of Belmont Basketball have made a greater impact than Ian Clark. And even fewer have paved a more unique path to the Larry O'Brien trophy and an NBA Championship than the former Bruin All-American.
In 2013, after leading Belmont to a third consecutive NCAA Tournament and earning All-Tournament Team honors at the prestigious Portsmouth Invitational pre-draft event, Clark was selected to play for the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat in the Orlando Summer League. Clark shined for the Heat, leading the team in scoring, 3-point field goal percentage, steals and minutes played in earning All-Orlando Summer League honors.
From there, Clark immediately headed west to join the Golden State Warriors for Vegas Summer League. His steady, consistent, unselfish play was rewarded in the championship game, as Clark scored a record 33 points on seven 3-point field goals in earning game Most Valuable Players honors as Golden State defeated Phoenix.
National media coverage soon followed, with prominent features on NBA.com, SI.com, YahooSports.com, and The Jim Rome Show, among others.
Two days later, fielding a number of NBA offers, Clark signed a multi-year contract with the Utah Jazz, returning to Salt Lake City – site of his final collegiate game in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
After shooting 36 percent from three-point distance in 46 game appearances with the Jazz over two seasons, Clark finished the 2014-15 campaign with the Denver Nuggets.
With the team from the Mile High City, the Memphis native again stole the show during NBA Summer League, averaging 13.4 points per game while showcasing the same focus and attention to detail that earned him Defensive All-America honors as a Bruin. Clark, who also sank a dramatic game-winning shot to beat the Heat, was named the best shooter of NBA Summer League by ESPN.com.
Days later, Clark agreed in principle to join the World Champion Golden State Warriors, reuniting with former teammates Brandon Rush and Draymond Green.
Golden State then enjoyed the greatest regular season in NBA history, posting a league-record 73 wins en route to a berth in the 2016 NBA Finals.
In the regular season, Clark appeared in 77 games, averaging 6.8 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. He shot 49 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3-point distance. Clark became an instant fan favorite, earning the respect of MVPs Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry
He scored a career-high 36 points at San Antonio March 11, 2017.
In 2017, Clark ranked fifth among all NBA shooting guards in field goal percentage, 15th in true shooting percentage (.575) and averaged 22.2 points per 48 minutes.
Clark averaged 6.8 points per game on 51 percent shooting in the NBA playoffs, including 10 points in Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals.
He became the first OVC player since 1971 to win an NBA title.
Clark completed six NBA seasons, his last two with the New Orleans Pelicans. The Memphis, Tennessee native became an integral member of NOLA, recording career-highs in points (7.4), assists (1.5) and minutes played (19.7) per game in 2017-18. He averaged 11.0 points per game on 49 percent shooting after the NBA All-Star break.
As part of New Orleans' 2019 playoff push, Clark buried a decisive 3-pointer in Game 1 of the Pelicans' opening round sweep of Portland, and scored a playoff career-high 18 points vs. Golden State in the NBA Western Conference semifinals.
Clark averaged 6.7 points per game in 60 game appearances with the Pelicans. He averaged 23.0 points per game in the month of April.
Clark is currently playing professionally in China.
But Belmont's NBA success story doesn't end with Windler and Clark. In fact, they and several former Bruins have forged personal pathways to the association.
NBA Skills Coach/Consultant and CEO of Pure Sweat Basketball Drew Hanlen ('12) has built a reputation as one of the most coveted and respected player development voices in the game. What began with NBA All-Stars David Lee and Bradley Beal has blossomed into training regimens for a bevy of household names, including Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid, Zach LaVine and RJ Barrett.
Adam Barnes ('13) won four consecutive conference championships with Clark and Hanlen. And after pursuing a career in accounting, seized an opportunity as an operations assistant with the Cleveland Cavaliers. After experiencing the Cavs' 2016 NBA Championship, Barnes has been reunited with respected executive David Griffin, serving as chief of staff for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Two-time All-American Evan Bradds ('17) seemed destined for a lengthy professional career. But after sustaining an injury during a pre-draft workout with the Indiana Pacers, a different calling took hold: coaching. Bradds was hired as an assistant coach for the Maine Red Claws, the Boston Celtics' NBA-G League affiliate. Added to the Celtics' 2018 playoff staff, Bradds is now a full-time video assistant for the 17-time NBA Champions.
A handwritten letter to Coach Byrd initiated quite the journey for T.J. Saint. The former walk-on at Mercer simply dreamed of getting into coaching. Two seasons as a student assistant led to three more at Butler University, before ultimately joining the staff of the Detroit Pistons. Saint is currently an assistant coach with the Erie BayHawks of the NBA G League.
Belmont's NBA story would be incomplete without mention of Joe Gaines. The dynamic forward, whose program rebounding records may never be broken, was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1972 NBA Draft. Gaines would go on to play three seasons for the Scranton Apollos of the Eastern Basketball Association (EBA).
A number of former Belmont standouts have enjoyed successful professional playing careers.
Kevin McClain ('19) currently plays for FOS Provence in France. He played for EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Germany in his first professional season. The Jennings, Florida native was a 2019 First Team All-OVC selection in spearheading Belmont's NCAA Tournament victory over Temple. He played 2019 NBA Summer League for the Golden State Warriors.
Amanze Egekeze ('18) currently plays for BC Gries-Oberhoffen in France. He played for PAOK in Greece during the 2019-20 campaign. In his first professional season, Egekeze split time among Yokohama B-Corsairs, Ryukyu Golden Kings and Niigata Albirex in Japan.
Austin Luke ('18) currently plays for Yoast United in The Netherlands. He played for Club Melilla in Spain last season. The Rowlett, Texas native split time between VEF Riga (Latvia) and VFL Kirchheim Knights (Germany) in his first professional season. Luke ranks second all-time in OVC history in assists (681).
J.J. Mann ('14) plays for Bayer Giants Leverkusen in Germany. Mann has enjoyed a successful professional playing career, spending time with Okapi Aalstar (Belgium), FOG Naestved (Denmark), Sigal Prishtina (Kosovo), Belfius Mons-Hainaut (Belgium), Phoenix Hagen (Germany) and Oberwart (Austria).
Kerron Johnson ('13) has signed a professional contract BC Enisey in Russia. He represented Cluj Napoca in Romania during the 2019-20 season. He averaged 14.3 points and 4.8 assists per game for Hapoel Beer Sheva in Israel.
Johnson was a league leader for Pistoia (Italy) after his second stint with MHP Riesen Ludwgsburg (Germany) where he reached the German BBL playoff semifinals en route to German BBL All-Star and All-German Bundesliga honors.
The Huntsville, Alabama native also averaged 10 points and four assists per game in 26 games of Basketball Champions League - FIBA's top European-wide competition for professional clubs - as MHP reached the Final Four, before falling to AS Monaco.
Johnson also played for MKS Dabrowa Gornicza (Poland), Breakers (New Zealand) and SPO Rouen (France).
Alex Renfroe ('09) enters his 11th professional season after reaching an agreement San Pablo Burgos in Spain. He played for Zenit St. Petersburg in Russia last season. Prior Renfroe averaged 14.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game for ICL Baxi Manresa of Liga Endesa in Spain before moving on to KK Partisan in Serbia.
The 6-3 guard also spent time with Galatasaray (Turkey), Scandone (Italy), Ponce (Puerto Rico), BroseBaskets and FC Bayern Munich (Germany), Enisey Krasnoyarsk (Russia), FC Barcelona Lassa, Laboral Kutxa Vitotia and Valladolid (Spain), Enel Brindisi (Italy), KK Zagreb (Croatia) and VEF Riga (Latvia).
The Hermitage, Tennessee native earned Associated Press All-America, NABC and Basketball Times All-District and Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year honors in 2009, and was part of the Alba Berlin team that captured a stunning victory over the 2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs in an exhibition game.
In 2009, Renfroe led the Bruins in scoring (16.2), rebounding (7.2), assists (5.1), blocked shots (0.5) and field goal percentage (.548) - believed to be the first college basketball player since Tim Duncan in 1997 to lead his team in all five categories.
There may be bigger on-campus facilities, but there is not a better place to play and train in America than Belmont University - from the Curb Event Center to the soon-to-be completed indoor practice facility.
In addition to housing two full courts for basketball and volleyball, the two-story, 45-thousand square-foot facility will feature athletic training and strength and conditioning space, a video room with theatre-style seating, locker rooms, coaches’ offices, conference rooms, equipment rooms and team lounge areas.
The indoor practice facility will be located on Compton Avenue and will include a shared lobby with Belmont Tennis at the adjacent Belmont University South Garage.
The project is scheduled for completion in Fall 2021.
By any measure, Nashville is one of the most desirable places to live and most sought-after tourist destinations in the world.
‘The Music City’ can best be described as a pleasant mix of big city entertainment and "down home" friendliness. Nashville is located in the heart of our nation’s bustling core. Major cities such as St. Louis, Cincinnati, Memphis, Atlanta, and Birmingham can all be reached by car within 3-5 hours. And when going from work to play, Nashville has it all. The city offers a multitude of sporting events, recreational opportunities, restaurants, parks, and shopping malls.
Known as "Music City USA", Nashville is a city whose musical tastes range from country to rock to gospel. The city has several major concert venues and many big-name concert tours consider Nashville a “must-stop.” The city also serves as home to the Grand Ole Opry, the nation's longest running weekly radio show, and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Nashville has long been the mecca of the country music industry and is one of the top recording centers in the world. All of the music industry's major recording labels have a presence in Music Row, just north of the Belmont campus.
The nightlife in downtown Nashville offers something for everyone. Amidst the savory sights and sounds of historic Second Avenue sit some of the most venerable hot spots anywhere. From Wildhorse Saloon and Hard Rock Cafe to Famous Dave’s BBQ and The Pancake Pantry, it is not uncommon to bump into stars of stage and screen in Nashville.
Nashville's cultural environment earned the city its other nickname, the "Athens of the South." Nashville is well known as a major education center. The area's 10 accredited four-year and postgraduate institutions, including Belmont, are an integral part of the economic and cultural identity of the area. In addition to its educational institutions, the city offers numerous cultural and artistic venues. It is home to nine performing arts facilities, including the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. TPAC is the home to a wide range of events, including Broadway musicals and performances by the Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and the Nashville Symphony. The city is also home to seven art galleries, including the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. The Frist Center, housed in the city's old main post office, presents a wide assortment of visual arts exhibitions. Nashville boasts 25 museums (including the Tennessee State Museum), numerous historic sites (like The Hermitage - home of President Andrew Jackson, an exact replica of the Parthenon, and the Natchez Trace Parkway), and an upgraded public library system that includes a new $50 million downtown library. Lastly, the newest addition to the downtown landscape, the magnificent Music City Center convention center opened Spring 2013 and further cements Nashville’s place as a desired international meeting place.
Simply put, Nashville is the cornerstone of the Mid-South economy. It has become a leader in printing and publishing, music and entertainment, finance and insurance, healthcare management, automobile and other related industry, manufacturing and tourism. Internationally known companies like Amazon, AT&T, Bridgestone/Firestone, Caterpillar Financial, Dell, Dollar General, HCA, Louisiana Pacific, Nissan, State Farm, Tractor Supply Co., and UPS have significant operations in the city.
The sports landscape in Nashville has changed dramatically over the past two decades with the introduction of major professional sports into the area. The arrival of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans in 1998 brought instant credibility and excitement to the Mid-State. The Titans have won two division titles and one conference championship, reaching the 2020 AFC Championship game. Tennessee represented the AFC in Super Bowl XXXIV, playing the St. Louis Rams in one of the most memorable games in NFL history. With Derrick Henry and Mike Vrabel leading the way, the future looks bright for the powder blue and white. Home for the Titans is Nissan Stadium, a 68,000 seat, state-of-the-art facility located on the east bank of the Cumberland River across from downtown. Aside from the NFL, Nissan Stadium also plays host to several major concerts and sporting events, including the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl - which now pits teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conferences each December.
Nashville once again demonstrated its hospitality and unparalleled support of sports, playing host to the 2019 NFL Draft - universally regarded as one of the top sports entertainment events for fan experience in history.
The Nashville Predators have introduced the thrills of the National Hockey League to Middle Tennessee. For the past several seasons, the Predators have been among the premier organizations in the NHL. Nashville became a national sensation in 2017 en route to the Western Conference Championship and berth in the Stanley Cup Finals, then backed it up winning the 2018 Presidents' Trophy. The Bruins and the Predators have a strong partnership, from corporate engagement and internship programs to fan support and community relations. The Preds skate in one of Nashville’s downtown landmarks, Bridgestone Arena. The 18,000 seat Bridgestone Arena is a regular venue for touring groups and international artists, such as Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and Coldplay.
Moreover, international soccer loves Music City, with friendlies and United States National Team matches regularly on the docket. Nissan Stadium played host to the Gold Cup, with Nashville as a potential host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. In addition, Nashville recently welcomed Nashville SC and Major League Soccer (MLS) as the football club began its inaugural campaign.
Another constant among Nashville professional sports over the past two decades has been the Nashville Sounds. The Sounds, who have called Music City home since 1978, compete in the Pacific Coast League as the Class AAA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. Through the years, players like Don Mattingly, Willie McGee, Chris Sabo, Magglio Ordonez, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo, and Ricky Weeks have used Nashville to jumpstart MLB stardom. The 2006 PCL Champion Sounds play at Greer Stadium, located just minutes from downtown and the former longtime home of Belmont Baseball. In 2015, the Sounds opened First Tennessee Park.
The NTT IndyCar Series will add a street race in downtown Nashville, to its 2021 schedule, announcing the inaugural Music City Grand Prix will be held Aug 6-8.
Though the Nashville Superspeedway took a final bow in the summer of 2011, middle Tennessee remains a hotbed for NASCAR and IRL racing. Furthermore, Nashville has established itself as the ideal place to host a major sporting event. In the past decade alone, the city has hosted events such as the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournament, the SEC men's and women's basketball tournaments, numerous AAU national championships, international soccer matches, and the U.S. Swimming Championships. Recently, Nashville hosted the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four to universal praise and hosted preliminary rounds of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Moreover, Nashville annually hosts the popular St. Jude Rock N’ Roll Marathon, one of the nation’s top distance races. In addition, Nashville played host to the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur golf championship.
Recreation is second-to-none in Nashville. Located in the picturesque hills of Middle Tennessee, Nashville boasts thousands of acres of public parks and offers a variety of outdoor activities like golf, cycling, boating, fishing, and hiking. Belmont has been named among top colleges in the nation for outdoor enthusiasts.
Sporting a mild climate with distinct changes in season - warm summers, colorful autumns, brisk winters, and beautiful springs - no two days are alike in Nashville.
Few programs outside the Power 5 Conferences have amassed a resume of signature victories comparable to Belmont.
November 23, 1998 - In one of the biggest victories in the history of Striplin Gymnasium, Belmont outlasted Butler, 60-58. Dougie Webb’s short jumper with two seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner as the Bruins rallied from a 15-point first half deficit. Freshman Wes Burtner scored a team-high 13 points. The Bulldogs were coaches by current Butler athletic director Barry Collier.
December 30, 2003 - Belmont Basketball scored the biggest victory in program history to date, knocking off perennial Big 12 Conference power and 22nd-ranked Missouri, 71-67, at the Hearnes Center. Steve Drabyn led four Bruins in double figures with 16 points. The Bruins hit 13 3-point field goals and used a 17-3 run early in the second half to seize control. It was the Bruins’ first victory over a Top-25 opponent.
November 9, 2007 -Belmont Basketball opened its historic 2007-08 campaign with a convincing 86-75 victory at then-Big East Conference stalwart Cincinnati. With NBA legend and former Cincinnati All-American Oscar Robertson on hand, the Bruins showcased their outside shooting prowess and unselfish, uptempo play in controlling the Bearcats throughout. Justin Hare scored a game-high 23 points, while eventual All-American Alex Renfroe would score 13 points off the bench in his collegiate debut.
November 19, 2007 - A week and a half after its win at Cincinnati, Belmont Basketball recorded another monumental victory over major conference opposition, defeating ultra-talented Alabama of the Southeastern Conference, 85-83, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa. The Bruins shot 53 percent in the first half in racing out to a 50-44 halftime lead. Justin Hare’s pullup jumpshot with 2.2 seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner. Belmont became just the second mid-major program to win at Alabama since 1996.
November 18, 2012 - Belmont Basketball confidently walked into Maples Pavilion and defeated Pac-12 mainstay Stanford, 70-62. The Bruins held the Cardinal to 31 percent shooting and forced 17 turnovers in the virtual wire-to-wire win. After building a 14-point lead early in the second half, Belmont rode the hot hands of Ian Clark and Kerron Johnson down the stretch. Stanford entered the game as the defending NIT Champions, and holders of the nation’s longest active home court win streak.
November 17, 2013 - Senior J.J. Mann hit three consecutive 3-pointers in the final 1:02 of regulation as the Bruins defeated seven-time National Champion North Carolina 83-80, at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Behind the shooting of Mann and fellow senior Drew Windler, Belmont led much of the way – including by 11 with 15 minutes remaining. Belmont would snap the No. 11 Tar Heels’ 66-game home court win streak against non-conference opponents dating back to 2005.
November 13, 2015 - Belmont buried 12 3-pointers and led most of the way in defeating storied Marquette of the Big East Conference. Craig Bradshaw scored 12 points in the opening seven minutes, including a flurry of electrifying highlights. Evan Bradds scored a game-high 24 points on 10-for-13 shooting, but his charging foul drawn on freshman All-American Henry Ellenson with 14 seconds remaining proved to be the play of the game. Austin Luke, making his first career start at point guard, handed out nine assists on only one turnover and buried three free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
March 15, 2017 - Behind 21 points and nine rebounds from Dylan Windler, Belmont defeated Georgia, 78-69, in the first round of the 2017 Postseason NIT. It was redemption for Belmont for a 93-84 loss at Georgia nearly one year to the day in the 2016 Postseason NIT. The Bruins went 14-for-31 from 3-point distance leading virtually wire-to-wire. Belmont limited the Bulldogs to 42 percent shooting and were plus-six on the backboards.
November 13, 2017 - Belmont rode the strong play of Dylan Windler and Amanze Egekeze to post a 69-60 victory over Vanderbilt in 2017. An arena-record crowd of 5,266 witnessed Belmont's fourth victory over an SEC opponent, and second straight. Belmont held the Commodores to 35 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers.
December 15, 2018 - Senior Kevin McClain made a layin with 2.3 seconds left as Belmont defeated 11-time National Champion UCLA, 74-72, at historic Pauley Pavilion. Belmont limited UCLA to four points in the paint in the second half. McClain had 20 points, six rebounds and six assists.
March 19, 2019 - Senior Kevin McClain scored a game-high 29 points as Belmont ran past Temple, 81-70, in the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in Dayton, Ohio. Belmont shot 53 percent from the field and Nick Muszynski added 16 points as Belmont earned its third victory in 2018-19 over a team receiving national Top 25 poll votes.
November 16, 2019 - Behind a career-high 35 points from sophomore Adam Kunkel, Belmont defeated Boston College, 100-85, at Conte Forum in the Gotham Classic. Kunkel went 10-for-20 from the field and 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
Belmont features an experienced and proven coaching staff committed to player development - each accomplished college players in their own right.
Casey Alexander (@CaseyAlexander_) is a Belmont fixture, part of Belmont's NAIA Final Four teams in the 1990's and remarkable run of success in the Atlantic Sun Conference and NCAA Tournaments in the 2000's.
Alexander is one of only six coaches in America to win 78 or more games over the last three seasons and claim three consecutive conference championships.
During Associate Head Coach Brian Ayers' (@coachbrianayers) 22 seasons, Belmont has averaged 22 wins per season, including 25 wins per season over the last decade.
Ayers specializes in post-play instruction - offensive moves, footwork, positioning, and team defense. His instruction is one of the main reasons why Belmont is annually among the nation's leaders in field goal percentage shooting and offensive efficiency. In fact, Belmont has led the nation in two-point field goal percentage five of the last eight seasons, and has ranked Top 30 in that category 12 consecutive seasons.
Among the top post coaches in America, Ayers has worked with two of the NCAA's all-time leaders in field goal percentage - Evan Bradds ('17) and Adam Mark ('04).
Tyler Holloway (@CoachTHolloway) returns for his 12th season with Belmont Basketball, third as assistant coach and second as a member of Casey Alexander's staff.
During Holloway's time with the Bruins, Belmont has won 270 games – over 25 games per season – 14 conference championships (nine regular season, five tournament), earned six NCAA Tournament bids (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2019, 2020), garnered national Top 25 poll votes nine out of 10 seasons, recorded nine consecutive Top 100 RPI rankings, and posted the nation's longest active home court and road win streaks.
Holloway was a four-year letterwinner at Murray State ('09), where he scored 1,083 career points and made 210 career 3-point field goals.
Sean Rutigliano (roo-TILL-ee-AH-no) (@CoachRutigs) begins his second year as a member of the Belmont University men's basketball coaching staff in 2020-21.
Rutigliano, an engaging and personable recruiter who spearheaded Belmont's effort to attract Tyler Scanlon as a graduate transfer, came to Belmont after spending four seasons as a member of Alexander's staff down Belmont Boulevard, where he was part of an NCAA Tournament appearance, an NIT Championship game appearance and coached Washington Wizards guard Garrison Mathews, Rob Marberry and JC Hampton.
The New York native also coached at Army West Point.
No stranger to the Belmont men's basketball program, Mick Hedgepeth ('12) returns for his second season as director of basketball operations in 2020-21.
Belmont's OVC regular season and tournament championships in 2020 - when added to Hedgepeth's five championships as a player - give Hedgepeth seven conference championships as member of the Bruin program.
Hedgepeth returned to Nashville after spending two seasons as head coach at the University of the South (Sewanee), where he led the Tigers to the 2019 NCAA Division III Tournament.
Academic excellence is one of the cornerstones of Belmont Basketball. The Bruin program possesses an unrivaled track record of academic achievement, standing among the elite programs in all of college basketball, and the NCAA.
Belmont University men's basketball boasts an NCAA-leading 17 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections since 2001 - including Dylan Windler in 2019 - and is the only NCAA Division I program to make the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Honor Roll every year of existence.
Entering 2020, Belmont Basketball earned a perfect 1000 score in the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) 10 consecutive years.
Belmont annually ranks among NCAA Division I leaders on the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court, with a remarkable 51 Bruins receiving honors since 2011. To qualify, student-athletes must academically be a junior or senior and post a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.2 or higher at the conclusion of the academic year.
If Duke is the Harvard of North Carolina, Belmont is the Princeton of Tennessee - Charlotte Observer
Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association's mission is to enhance initiatives common to its Division I-AAA membership (the Division I institutions that do not sponsor football), in particular, aspects related to their flagship basketball programs. Belmont has become a fixture on the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association (DI-AAA ADA) annual Scholar-Athlete Team, with 15 selections and seven National Scholar-Athletes of the Year, including 2020 graduate Seth Adelsperger.
Belmont Basketball has posted a team GPA of 3.0 or higher 20 consecutive years.
Seven of the top eight scorers of Belmont's NCAA Division I era have earned Academic All-America honors.
Belmont University annually ranks among the nation's leading institutions of higher learning. In the 2021 rankings of America's Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, Belmont placed top in the state and No. 24 in the country for its “unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching.”
Home of the 2020 Presidential Debate, Belmont University is made up of more than 8,200 students who come from every state and 28 countries. Belmont brings together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service. The University’s purpose is to help students explore their passions and develop their talents to meet the world’s needs. With more than 100 areas of undergraduate study, 27 master’s programs and five doctoral degrees, there is no limit to the ways Belmont University can expand an individual's horizon. For more information, visit www.belmont.edu.
Our mission: Belmont University is a student-centered Christian community providing an academically challenging education that empowers men and women of diverse backgrounds to engage and transform the world with disciplined intelligence, compassion, courage and faith.
Our vision: To be a leader among teaching universities, bringing together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service.
Our values: As a student-centered Christian community with a rich Baptist heritage, Belmont University upholds the following core values as essential to the intellectual, spiritual, personal and corporate life: Integrity, Inquiry, Collaboration, Service and Humility.
From intensive international media coverage to the indelible educational experiences given to hundreds of students, the impact of the 2020 Presidential Debate at Belmont University will be felt for years to come. 2020 presidential candidates President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden drew millions of eyes around the world to Belmont and the city of Nashville while giving citizens of all ages an up-close perspective on a historic election.
In recent years, Belmont has demonstrated its unique ability to host major events as the University was home to the international Davis Cup tennis competition, taping in 2018 and 2019 of the nationally broadcast “CMA Country Christmas” special, a visit from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and the Nashville premiere of new Ken Burns’s documentary, “Country Music.” Moreover, Belmont has long been known for its commitment to civic discourse and citizen education, as a frequent host of mayoral and gubernatorial debates and forums.
Service is at the heart of Belmont University’s mission statement, and in keeping with that tradition, two decades ago the Bruin athletic program initiated an annual sports evangelism mission trip.
In May 2019, Mitch Listau and Derek Sabin joined fellow student-athletes and staff members on a mission trip to Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland. The Bruins united with ministry partner, Proem, during the Kontakt Festival, a week-long initiative to plant a church in the Polish community.
In May 2018, Dylan Windler, Kevin McClain and coach Tyler Holloway joined fellow student-athletes and staff members on a mission trip to Nakuru, Kenya. The Bruins reunited with ministry partner, Streets of Hope, which provides former street boys with a home, food, education, Christ-centered spiritual guidance, medical care, and hope.
Seeing God's light shine halfway across the world is something beautiful that not a lot of people get the chance to witness first hand - Dylan Windler
Belmont groups have also traveled to Grand Goave, Haiti, Naples, Italy, the Republic of Malta, Kiev, Ukraine, Porta la Cruz, Venezuela, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Cape Town, South Africa in recent years.
The Bruins have also partnered with Wounded Warrior Project (@wwpinc) to honor service members and their families during home games as part of the team’s Honorary Military Captain program.
From its grand opening, the Curb Event Center has gained a national reputation as being one of the finest facilities and best homecourt advantages in college basketball.
Since the inaugural 2003-04 season, Belmont is 198-29 (.872) at the Curb Event Center. Moreover, the Bruins are 138-16 (.896) in league games at the Curb Event Center.
From the day it joined the OVC, Belmont went 1,730 days before losing a conference home game, and is 63-4 overall in OVC home games.
Belmont was 126-11 (.920) for the decade of 2010-19, the fifth-best home court winning percentage in the nation over that span. Only Kansas, Kentucky, Gonzaga and Duke had better winning percentages.
Belmont held the nation’s longest home court win streak (23) during the 2013-14 season and nation’s longest conference home court win streak (35) during the 2015-16 season.
With the Bruins’ formula of uncompromising success, high-scoring action, and vigorous, loyal support from ‘The M.O.B.’ – Belmont’s boisterous student section – attendance has increased 104 percent since 2005. That is the greatest percentage increase in attendance among all Nashville area sports teams – college and professional.
Belmont and the 3-point line are a match made in heaven. The Bruins lead the country in made 3-point field goals since becoming an NCAA Division I member institution in 1997. Belmont's 7,025 3-pointers outpace Duke and Florida.
Belmont is one of the most efficient offenses in college basketball. They can shoot the 3 from all five positions and put so much pressure on defenses with their ability to drive and kick. They never let up. Sean Farnham, ESPN
Belmont has ranked in the Top 10 nationally in 3-point field goals made per games 15 of the last 22 seasons.
Belmont has ranked in the Top 25 nationally in 3-point field goals made per game every year but one since becoming an NCAA Division-I member institution in 1996-97.
Amanze Egekeze ('18) made 222 career 3-pointers, sixth among all active NCAA Division I frontcourt players upon his graduation. Egekeze made an OVC Tournament record nine consecutive 3-point field goals in the Bruins' 2018 victory over Austin Peay.
The Bruins made a program-record 20 3-point field goals in defeating Tennessee State, 84-59, Feb. 24, 2018.
Taylor Barnette (’17) and his 3-pointer to win the 2015 OVC Championship were named the ESPN/Capital One Impact Performance for the month of March. Barnette graduated as the OVC active leader in 3-point field goals made.
Nick Smith (’17) tied the Ohio Valley Conference and Belmont Curb Event Center single-game records for made 3-pointers with 10 vs. UT Martin (1/5/17). The Bruins made 18 3-pointers as a team.
Drew Windler (’14) led the OVC in 3-point field goal percentage (.460) in 2013-14.
J.J. Mann (’14) made three consecutive 3-point field goals in the final 1:02 of regulation as Belmont defeated No. 11 North Carolina, 83-80, Nov. 17, 2013. Mann made 234 career three-point field goals.
Ian Clark (’13) graduated as the program’s NCAA era career leader in made 3-point field goals (340). He also ranked third nationally in 3-point percentage in 2012-13, earned a spot in the Hampton Hotels National 3-Point Championships at the 2013 Final Four in Atlanta, and set the Great Alaska Shootout single-game record for made 3-point field goals with nine against Northeastern. As fate would have it, newly named Director of Athletics Scott Corley (’90) made 420 career 3-pointers.
Upon graduation, Andy Wicke (’09) ranked second in Atlantic Sun Conference history with 303 3-point field goals. He also holds the Curb Event Center single-game 3-point field goal record with 10 (vs. Gardner-Webb, 2/15/07).
Four of the Top 15 3-point shooters in Atlantic Sun Conference history played at Belmont: Ian Clark (’13), Andy Wicke (’09), Josh Goodwin (’07), Steve Drabyn (’04)
Josh Goodwin (’07) set the Atlantic Sun Conference single-game 3-point field goal record with 11 (at East Tennessee State, 12/1/05).
From relative unknown to media darling, Belmont Basketball burst on the scene in 2006 and has remained a fixture ever since.
Aside from traditional local print, radio and television coverage, the Bruins have gained universal acclaim on and off the court - profiled on national television and radio, as well as featured in renowned magazines, newspapers, online publications, digital platforms and social media.
Belmont is used to winning, they’re used to championships, they’re used to postseason play. The have a bunch of guys who share the ball and that’s really hard to play against. - Jay Bilas
Belmont has secured a program-record 114 televised games over the past eight seasons, becoming a fixture in digital media and in national polls. Aside from its unparalleled exposure in nine NCAA Tournament appearances since 2006 – including four ‘Live Look-Ins’ in the last eight years on the CBS Selection Show - Belmont is front of mind when college basketball experts look for perspective and comparative analysis. In fact, the Bruin program has received prominent national features from ESPN, USA Today, The Athletic, CBS Sports, Yahoo Sports, Jim Rome, SI.com, and NPR, among others.
CBSSports.com and college basketball senior writer Matt Norlander were granted an all-access, behind-the-scenes look at Belmont Basketball during the 2013 NCAA Tournament, and NBA Champion and current New Orleans Pelicans guard Ian Clark became a national sensation with his sterling play in the 2013 NBA Summer League.
And Belmont’s award-winning broadcasts, now on the ESPN family of networks, and athletic website have given Bruin fans around the globe a front row seat.
The NCAA permits member institutions to play against international competition once every four years. Belmont has taken recent foreign tours to Portugal, England & Ireland, Italy & Switzerland, and France.
Belmont went 3-0 on its tour of Portugal in August, winning by an average margin of victory of 21 points.
The Portugal trip was a great experience for everyone in our program. We're grateful for the opportunity to go and excited about the opportunity to accelerate our starting point for the season. The primary purpose of the trip was the educational component, but it allowed us to come together as one - Coach Alexander