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Lindsey Wilson’s Peck Named 2012 John McLendon National Coach of the Year Finalist | NAIA

PeckCOLUMBIA, Ky. — Lindsey Wilson College men’s basketball coach Paul Peck is one of 15 finalist for the 2012 John McLendon National Coach of the Year.

The award is presented annually to the top collegiate head coach over all divisions — NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA and Junior College.

Peck led the Blue Raiders to a 21-10 record, including a 12-4 Mid-South Conference record. Lindsey Wilson captured the program’s first out-right MSC regular season title this season and its second overall title.

The Blue Raiders advanced to the program’s 10th NAIA National Tournament before falling in the opening round to Evangel (Mo.) University.

According to CollegeInsider.com, McLendon was a trailblazer and one of the true pioneers of the game. He became the first African American coach to win an integrated national championship. His team went on to win the NAIA Division I Men’s Tournament in 1957, 1958 and 1959, making him the first coach in history to win three consecutive NAIA championships.

In 1962 he became the first African American head coach in a major professional league (ABL) with the Cleveland Pipers. In 1966 he became the first African American head coach of predominantly-white university, when he took over the Cleveland State program. He led the team to their best record in school history.

In 1969, McLendon was hired by the Denver Rockets and became the first African American head coach in the American Basketball Association. After a brief stint with the Rockets, McLendon ended his 25-year professional coaching career with a winning percentage of .760 and a lifetime career average of 523 victories and 165 losses.

Peck is joined on the finalist list by Ken Ammann (Concordia University Irvine), Mike Brey (University of Notre Dame), Horace Broadnax (Savannah State) John Calipari (University of Kentucky) John Cooper (Tennessee State), Jim Crutchfield (West Liberty) Steve Green (South Plains College), Frank Haith (University of Missouri), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Marcus Kahn (Cabrini College), Ben McCollum (Northwest Missouri State University), Danny Miles (Oregon Tech), Pat Miller (Wisconsin-Whitewater), Matt Neil (Hope College) and Chad Warner (Shorter University).

The winner will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com awards banquet on March 30 in New Orleans, site of the men’s NCAA Basketball Championship.

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