LMU men's basketball coach Josh Schertz tabbed Tennessee Coach of the Year

(Photo: LMU Athletics)
(Photo: LMU Athletics)(WYMT)
Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 11:14 AM EDT
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Lincoln Memorial University men's basketball leader Josh Schertz has been named 2019-20 Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) Coach of the Year, the organization announced Tuesday morning. In his 12th year at the helm of the Railsplitters, Schertz led LMU to its fifth 30-win season in six years, a pair of South Atlantic Conference titles, a nation-leading 32-game win streak and a No. 2 national ranking.

Finalists for the top college basketball coach in the state award included Belmont head coach Casey Alexander and Chattanooga's Lamont Paris.

"As a coach, you certainly don't win any awards without great players," commented coach Schertz. "It is the players who win games and carry the coaches."

"I have always prioritized hiring humble, hard-working, intelligent assistants," Schertz continued. "They are the unsung heroes of our success and devote incredible amounts of time and effort behind the scenes to selflessly benefit our program. This honor is completely a byproduct of great players and a tremendous staff, alongside an administration that is aligned and committed to our program's vision. It is an honor to accept this award on their behalf."

Claiming SAC Coach of the Year laurels for the seventh time in 10 seasons, Schertz picked up his fourth National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Southeast District Coach of the Year award. Guiding the Railsplitters to a remarkable 32-1 (.970) record in 2019-20, the highest winning percentage for a season in both school and conference history, Schertz earned Division II Bulletin/SNA Sports February Coach of the Month honors and was selected as HoopDirt.com NCAA Division II Coach of the Week for the week of Feb. 24-March 1.

LMU capped its phenomenal campaign ranked second in the country in both the NABC Top 25 and the D2SIDA Media Poll, marking the third time in five seasons the Railsplitters ended the basketball year ranked among the nation's top two. Appearing in both national polls for the entirety of the 2019-20 season, it was the seventh time since 2010-11 LMU had been among the top 25 for the whole year.

Under coach Schertz's leadership, the Railsplitters ended the season on a 32-game winning streak, which set both a program and SAC record for most consecutive victories. No other team at any level of collegiate basketball owned a longer win streak at the conclusion of 2019-20.

Completing its third undefeated conference season in the last five years, LMU went a perfect 22-0 in SAC play and posted an unblemished 25-0 mark against league opponents. Capturing their eighth SAC regular season championship and fifth SAC Tournament title since 2011, the Railsplitters went unscathed in 2020 (20-0) and were perfect at home (17-0) inside B. Frank "Tex" Turner Arena for the 10th time in program history.

Throughout 2019-20, LMU posted eight wins over teams who were either ranked or receiving votes in at least one of the two national polls when the Railsplitters defeated them. Five of those were top-25 victories. However, Schertz's 300th career win came on Wednesday, Jan. 8 with a 76-64 conference home victory over UVA-Wise. Reaching 300 career wins in only 365 games as a head coach, Schertz moved into fourth place in SAC history in overall victories (318) and is now second in all-time league wins (200-36).

With an eye-popping 318-65 (.830) record in 12 seasons as LMU's lead man, only Jim Crutchfield at Nova Southeastern (.841) owns a higher career winning percentage among active head coaches at any NCAA level. During 2019-20, Schertz passed Gonzaga head coach Mark Few (.828).

Four of Schertz' players garnered All-SAC accolades following the regular season, including sophomore guard Courvoisier McCauley being named SAC Player of the Year and redshirt sophomore guard Cameron Henry selected as SAC Defensive Player of the Year. Redshirt junior guard Devin Whitfield and McCauley were both first-team picks, while Henry and senior point guard Anthony Brown were placed on the All-SAC Second Team. Whitfield, Henry and McCauley each collected all-region recognition as McCauley went on to be named an All-American by two different outlets, including the NABC. Brown and McCauley both appeared on the 2020 Bevo Francis Award Top 100 watch list and McCauley remained in contention for the national player of the year award until the watch list's top 25.

The only program in Division II to have reached 30 wins in five of the last six seasons, LMU is one of only four Division II schools to have registered 20 wins or more for 11-straight seasons. The Railsplitters have notched at least 25 wins and earned an NCAA Tournament nine of the last 10 years.

Prior to the COVID-19 global pandemic, LMU was set to host the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Southeast Regional Championship for the fourth time in six seasons after attaining a No. 1 seed.

Schertz was also named TSWA Coach of the Year in 2016 after the Railsplitters went 34-3 during the 2015-16 season and reached the Division II national championship game.