April 5, 2013
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army men’s basketball coach Zach Spiker was one of seven coaches to earn at least one vote for the Associated Press National Coach of the Year Award. The 2013 Patriot League Coach of the Year, Spiker guided the Black Knights to their first winning season in 28 years.
Miami’s Jim Larranaga won the award with 29 votes among the 65-member media panel. Former Army coach Jim Crews (Saint Louis) finished second with 19 votes. Mark Few (Gonzaga), John Thompson III (Georgetown), Bruce Weber (Kansas State), Steve Alford (New Mexico) and Spiker rounded out the field.
“I’m extremely humbled and honored to be included in this group,” Spiker said. “I’m especially happy for Coach Crews. It’s great to see those associated with our program, both past and present, have such well-deserved success. More importantly than the individual recognition, I’m happy that our assistant coaches and players are being rewarded for the progress and efforts they are making to improve the Army basketball program. This is a 100 percent team accomplishment.”
Spiker earned the Patriot League’s top coaching honor after guiding the Black Knights to an Academy record eight conference wins and their first winning season in Patriot League play. Army’s final record of 16-15 marked the program’s first winning season since 1984-85. The Black Knights also posted school records with five straight Patriot League wins and four consecutive Patriot League road victories.
Since taking the reins of the West Point program prior to the 2009-10 season, Spiker has joined Bob Knight, Mike Krzyzewski and George Hunter as the only coaches in Army history to win at least 50 games in their first four seasons. His “Star Game” victory over arch-rival Navy in February also put him alongside Krzyzewski as the last two Army coaches to capture at least two consecutive “Star Game” wins. Spiker has won the contest three times in his first four seasons.
Spiker’s players have earned numerous individual awards. Under Spiker’s guidance, Ella Ellis became Army’s first two-time NABC All-District player since 1987 and the program’s first two-time All-Patriot League First Team performer since 1996. Kyle Wilson earned the 2013 Patriot League Rookie of the Year award, the program’s first since 1993, and since Spiker’s arrival four players have earned Patriot League All-Rookie status. He also coached Nate Hedgecock, who in 2011 became the program’s first Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the Black Knights’ first Academic All-American since 1989.
Spiker is also a finalist for both the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award which honors those who not only achieve success on the basketball court but who display moral integrity off of it and the Hugh Durham Award which honors the nation’s top mid-major head coach.