WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Williams College third year men's basketball coach Kevin App has been named the winner of the 2017 Glenn Robinson Award as the top Men's NCAA DIII Basketball Coach of the Year.
App, whose first intercollegiate coaching job came at Williams as an assistant under Mike Maker (2008-09) has made the most of his three years as a head coach at Williams. Williams is also App's first intercollegiate head coaching opportunity.
After posting two straight 15-10 seasons App molded a young Eph 2016-17 Eph team into an appearance in the NCAA DIII National Semifinals in Salem, Virginia and a record of 23-9. Twelve of the Eph wins this season came over teams that appeared in the NCAA Tournament and eight of those teams were ranked in the top 25 when defeated by the Ephs.
In January the Ephs struggled in NESCAC play and appeared to be in danger of not making the NESCAC Tournament with a 1-4 conference ledger. Next up for the Ephs was a home game versus nationally ranked Middlebury.
App noted after Williams downed Middlebury 89-65, ""We played like we didn't care what happened, and that's what we've been missing. When we play as hard as we can and as fun as we can, we're a really good basketball team." Fueled by the win over Middlebury went on to earn a sixth seed in the NESCAC Tournament.
In the first round of the NESCAC Tournament the Ephs went to arch rival Amherst and pinned a 76-69 defeat on The Mammoths before heading to the campus of Tufts University for the NESCAC Semifinals.
The Ephs shocked top-seeded Tufts 81-65 and then faced Middlebury for the NESCAC title. The Ephs played a strong first half versus Middlebury, but went cold in the beginning of the second half and fell 84-62
The Ephs later defeated Middlebury 79-75 in Middlebury, Vt., in the Sectional Final to punch their ticket to the national semifinals.
App's 2016-17 Eph team featured nine players that played at least 14.8 minutes a game and only one of those nine will be graduating in June.
App credits a summer trip to Spain where the Ephs went 3-1 to getting his team to believe in each and trust each other and also offer a glimpse of what they could do as a team as a spark that got the Ephs off on the right foot in November.
"Awards like this are only possible when you're surrounded by terrific people.," said App. "My assistants, Brian Emerson and Justin Bradley, and the wonderful student-athletes we have the privilege of coaching are the reason we had some success this season."
"I consider myself incredibly fortunate to work with a special group of young men here at Williams," App added. "They were fun to work with all season and it was rewarding to see their hard work and commitment to one another end with our program's 8th trip to the Final Four."
App is only the second New England coach and first NESCAC coach to win the Glenn Robinson Award.
Past Robinson Award Winners:
2016: John Krikorian, Christopher Newport
2015: Jon VanderWal, Marietta
2014 Greg Dunne, Brockport State
2013: Chris Bartley, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
2012: Matt Neil, Hope College
2011: Shawn Cassidy, Concordia University Wisconsin