A very nice honor for first-year Rider men's coach Kevin Baggett was announced earlier today.
Baggett has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2013 Joe B. Hall Award, which is presented annually to the top first-year coach in Division I college basketball. The award's winner will be revealed at this year's Final Four Tournament on April 5.
Here's the rest of the 10 finalists: Jamion Christian (Mount St. Mary's), Mike Martin (Brown), Bashir Mason (Wagner), Dan Muller (Illinois State), Kevin Ollie (UConn), Jack Perri (LIU-Brookilyn), Richard Pitino (FIU), Nick Robinson (Southern Utah), Travis Williams (Tennessee State).
The award is named iin honor of Joe B. Hall, who was given the task of following the legendary Adolph Rupp at the University of Kentucky. In his first season at Kentucky hall finished 20-8, won the SEC title and advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals.
Baggett's Rider team finished in second place in the regular-season MAAC standings (12-6) and is currently 18-13 overall.
Baggett had been in the program as an assistant for the past seven years, and admitted that has helped his move to the Broncs' position as head coach.
"The transition has been good," said Baggett. "It helped that I had been part of this program for the last seven years. I had familiarity with players and they had that with me. That made life easy. That, and this is a good group of kids to coach."
Baggett is also surely a strong candidate to be the MAAC's Coach of the Year, an award that will be announced this evening.