Rick Byrd announces retirement after 33 seasons at Belmont

Belmont head coach Rick Byrd announced his retirement Monday after 33 seasons with the program, where he won 713 games and went to the NCAA Tournament eight times (including this, his final year).

“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 a statement. “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.”

In addition to his time at Belmont, Byrd also coached at Division III Maryville (TN) and NAIA Lincoln Memorial (TN). When the Tennessee-native was hired at Belmont in 1986, the program was a member of the NAIA. Byrd helped guide the program into Division I in the late-1990s and built the team into a mid-major power by the mid-2000s.

“I want to personally thank Coach Byrd for all his contributions to Belmont University and our entire athletic program,” Belmont AD Scott Corley said. “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.”

Corely announced that a national search for Byrd’s replacement will begin immediately. One candidate that will surely be mentioned is Casey Alexander, the current Lipscomb head coach who hails from Nashville, played at Belmont and coached under Byrd for more than 20 years.

 

credit to Steve Dykes/USA TODAY Sports for the photo

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