Nashville, TN — For the past 33 years, Belmont’s men’s basketball team has been coached by Rick Byrd. But, today he announced his retirement from the coaching ranks.
“For the past 33 years, it has been my privilege to work with, and for, a remarkable community of men and women at Belmont University,” Byrd said in the school’s press release. “Throughout my tenure as men’s basketball coach, our program has received great support from Belmont’s administration, faculty, staff and students.
“For this, I am forever grateful. Personally, I have been the beneficiary of a very supportive family that I could count on every single day, a loyal circle of friends who consistently offered encouragement, and a terrific fan base that has embraced our program and our players for over three decades. Most importantly, it has been an honor to coach the young men that have brought credit to Belmont University, not only by how they played the game, but how they represented our university all over our country.”
He collected 805 victories leading the Bruins making him the 12th all-time winningest coach among NCAA Division 1 head coaches. He is also a 2019 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction candidates, as well as, Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame inductee.
During his tenure, Byrd led Belmont to eight NCAA Tournament appearances (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2019) and picked up its first win this season against Temple in the First Four match-up.
Some noticeable wins under his belt include North Carolina, UCLA, Cincinnati, Vanderbilt, Butler and Missouri.
In terms of conference winning percentage, Byrd finished his career second behind Mark Few at Gonzaga at 0.797 (447-114).
“I want to personally thank Coach Byrd for all his contributions to Belmont University and our entire athletic program,” stated Belmont’s Director of Athletics Scott Corley. “He has impacted countless people over his 33 years, far beyond his players and staff. We are all better off for having worked with him. Coach will leave a legacy at this university that will be hard to duplicate. I feel blessed to call him my coach, my colleague, and my friend. I wish him, and his wife Cheryl, nothing but happiness in retirement.”
A national search to replace Byrd will start immediately.