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April 4, 2014


DALLAS, TX -- Stephen F. Austin's Brad Underwood is the recipient of the 2014 Joe B. Hall award, presented annually to the top first-year coach in college basketball.

Underwood becomes the first SFA head coach to win the award, guiding the Lumberjacks to a 32-3 overall record and berth in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. He inherited a team that won a program-best 27 games in the Division I era and was the reigning SLC champions from the previous the 2012-13 season. He pushed them further and captioned the nation’s attention, winning both the Southland Conference regular season and tournament title to advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Under Underwood’s guidance, the ‘Jacks became the first Southland school in the league’s 51-year history to win 29 games in the regular season and first 30-game winner, passing the 1984-85 Louisiana Tech squad that went 29-3 and reached the Sweet 16 with Karl Malone. Along the way, SFA joined top-ranked Florida and second-ranked Wichita State as the only schools to go undefeated in conference play this season. The ‘Jacks became just the 18th team all-time to do so at the Division I level in conference schedules of 18 games or more.

With 32 wins, Underwood ranks third all-time in the NCAA’s top 10 best career starts at the Division I level. Underwood passed Steve Prohm (Murray State - 31-2, 2012) and Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh - 31-5, 2004) with the won over VCU.

The award is named in the 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.

2014 Joe B. Hall Award Finalists
Mike Brennan American
Tim Craft Gardner-Webb
Pat Duquette UMass-Lowell
Bobby Hurley Buffalo
Robert Jones Norfolk State
Dan Majerle Grand Canyon
Nicholas McDevitt UNC Asheville
Craig Neal New Mexico
Brad Underwood Stephen F. Austin
Will Wade Chattanooga


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