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Friday, June 21, 2024
The Observer

Holy Cross head coach Mike McBride named National Coach of the Year

Holy Cross men’s basketball head coach Mike McBride was named the NABC/NAIA Division II Coach of the Year Friday. McBride, coming off of his seventh season as head coach, just led his team to a program-best season which saw the Saints finish at 27-6 on the year. 

McBride said he was very moved after winning the award and praised his team and staff.

"I was both shocked and humbled,” he said. “It is the highest, most esteemed honor a coach can receive, but it is most definitely a team award won by players — current and past — and staff, Coach [Tyler] Bradic, Coach [Mike] Bush, our manager Ryan Orr and team chaplain Br. Jimmy Henke. It starts with the unity and intensity of the group. It had a very no-nonsense, serious minded approach. I am also very proud of the leadership of our upperclassmen, especially senior [guard] Robby Jimenez, [and senior forwards] Parker Sims and Larenzo Moore."

McBride said he credits much of his career success to help and support from his family.

"I am most appreciative and thankful for my family," he said. "I was happy my mom, brother and cousin could make it out to the National Tourney and share in the experience."

The Saints started their postseason on a good note by being named the CCAC regular season co-champions with a 20-2 regular season record. Conference rivals Olivet Nazarene finished with an identical record. With the regular season conference crown, the Saints were awarded an automatic bid to the NAIA DII National Tournament. Coach McBride was named the CCAC Coach of the Year, as his squad finished first in the nation in scoring defense allowed and were in the top 10 for both offensive and defensive field goal percentages.

In their inaugural trip to the NAIA DII National Tournament, the Saints would travel to Sioux Falls, South Dakota –– ranked No. 10 in the national rankings. Their first contest saw them sneak by No. 24 Indiana Tech 60-56, and advance to the second round. Before their next game could be played, however, the tournament was canceled due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. This brought about an anticlimactic end to the Saints’ record-breaking season. 

McBride said emotions ran high following the sudden halt to the team‘s record-breaking season.

“Everyone was in complete shock and obviously devastated,” he said. “I told them to let that emotion run its course, but always remember the accomplishments and special season this team had. We‘ll never know how far we would‘ve gone, but we‘ll always take pride in what we did and how we did it — as a united, intense team.”
Despite not reaching their end goal, the Saints still finished the season with some strong accolades. Senior forward Larenzo Moore was named to the NAIA All-American Third Team. Moore was one of four NAIA All-Americans to average a double-double on the season, pulling down an average of 10.6 rebounds per game and posting 11.4 points per game on the season. Moore is the first Holy Cross College men's basketball player to be named an NAIA All-American.

McBride said he expects to see continued success from his program in upcoming seasons.

“We have and will always strive to be a program that competes for championships, graduates its players and prepares them as whole people for life after college, and as one that represents the College in the right way.”