St. Thomas' John Tauer has been selected the Division III Men's Basketball National Coach of the Year by Basketball Times.
It's the 10th time in the last 13 years that a UST head coach has won an elite national coaching award.
Basketball Times also honored West Liberty State's Jim Crutchfield in Division II and Columbia (Mo.)'s Bob Burchard in NAIA.
Tauer guided the Tommies to a 30-2 record and a trip to the national semifinal playoff round. It was St. Thomas’ third 30-win season since 2009 and second Final Four berth in the last three years. The Toms won 21 of 22 games against conference opponents and captured an unprecedented eighth consecutive MIAC regular-season title. UST beat six nationally-ranked teams and finished No. 4 in the final d3hoops.com poll. St. Thomas also ranked first or second in the two national computer rankings.
The 40-year-old Tauer, 52-9 in his two seasons at Tommie head coach, was a finalist for three other prominent national coaching awards, including the all-division John McLendon National Coach of the Year Award.
Not only did it lead all 1,000 NCAA programs in field-goal percentage, St. Thomas ranked first or second in Division III in five stat categories, including first in scoring margin. Its 52.4 percent field-goal percentage and 43.3 percent 3-point proficiency set new school records. The former was set in 2009 when the Tommies went 30-1, and the latter was set in 1991-92 when Tauer was a freshman.
"We are proud of both our national rankings and school records in both categories," Tauer said. "No school in the nation posted shooting numbers like these, and they reflect three things: we are blessed with good shooters who work exceptionally hard on their skills, they have a keen awareness of the difference between a good shot and a great shot, and they are exceptionally unselfish in their willingness to pass up a good shot for themself to create a great shot for a teammate," evidenced by UST's No. 2 national ranking in assist-turnover ratio.
The 30-2 record is the second-best winning percentage (.938) in program history and ranks in the top five this season among all NCAA programs. The Toms had only two defeats, a total that tied three others this winter for the fewest in all of NCAA basketball.
Tauer said any coaching awards are a reflection of the team and coaching staff commitment.
“Our seniors set the bar high and were part of sustained success over their four-year era. They won 105 games, four MIAC Championships, played in four NCAA tournaments, two Final Fours and won a national championship.” Tauer said.
“The members of our coaching staff are really unsung heroes. Any of the coaching awards we receive are considered team awards and staff awards. We believe that everyone involved with Tommie basketball is a role player, and that’s true of our staff, too."
1956: Frank Deig, Football (National Small College Coach of the Year)
1991: Ted Riverso, Women's Basketball
1992: Dave Orren, Volleyball (AVCA)
1995: Joe Sweeney, Women's Track and Field (USTFCCCA)
2001: Dennis Denning, Baseball (ABCA)
2004: John Tschida, Softball (NFCA)
2005: John Tschida, Softball (NFCA)
2005: Terry Skrypek, Men's Hockey (ACHA)
2009: Dennis Denning, Baseball (ABCA)
2010: Glenn Caruso, Football (Liberty Mutual)
2011: Steve Fritz, Men’s Basketball (NABC)
2011: Glenn Caruso, Football (Liberty Mutual & AFM)
2012: Glenn Caruso, Football (Liberty Mutual and AFCA)
2013: John Tauer (Basketball Times)