Niagara’s Mihalich Named NABC District Coach of the Year

March 29, 2013  |  by Michael Freedman

Niagara head coach Joe Mihalich has been named National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 1 Coach of the Year, as announced by the NABC on Friday. This is Mihalich’s seventh coach of the year honor and second by the NABC.

Mihalich was named Coach of the Year in District 1, which consists of teams in the America East and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Mihalich, who was named NABC Coach of the Year for the first time in 2009, was named MAAC Coach of the Year and’s MAAC Coach of the Year this season.

The all-time winningest head coach in MAAC history became the second coach in league history to earn three MAAC Coach of the Year awards after guiding the youngest team in the conference to the regular-season title to clinch a berth into the NIT.

The 2012-13 team had a plus-5 win improvement from last season and won a program-best 10-straight conference games which propelled the Purple Eagles to their best-ever MAAC start in their 24-year history as a member. The Purple Eagles tied their second-best MAAC record at 13-5 and went 7-2 in conference road contests to tie the 2000-01 team for best MAAC road record in program history.

Under Mihalich’s tutelage, three Purple Eagles earned All-MAAC awards. The dynamic sophomore duo of Juan’ya Green and Antoine Mason earned All-MAAC First Team honors to become the first set of sophomores to be named to the first team in league history. Freshman forward T.J. Cline was named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team; NU has had at least one member on the rookie team for three straight seasons and six times since 2002. Green (first) and Mason (second) were both named to the NABC All-District 1 team, and Green was selected to the Lou Henson Mid-Major All-America Team.

Mihalich is a finalist for the 2013 Hugh Durham National Mid-Major Coach of the Year award and the 2013 Skip Prosser Man of the Year award. The 2013 award will be presented at the awards banquet in Atlanta, site of the men’s NCAA Basketball Championship.