Welcome to history, Ryan Odom.
The UMBC men’s basketball coach took the basketball-watching world by surprise on Friday night, taking on No. 1 seed Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Here’s everything you need to know about him:
1. Odom Took Over at UMBC in 2016
Odom was named the ninth men’s basketball coach in UMBC history in April 2016 and led the Retrievers to the program’s first winning since 2007-08 that season. He was named the winner of the 2017 Joe B. Hall Award, which is presented annually to the top first-year coach in Division I.
Retrievers athletic director Tim Hall released a statement regarding Odom’s hiring, saying:
Ryan is an excellent coach, but a better person. He has laid the foundation this year for sustained success. This award is confirmation that he is the right leader for Retriever men’s basketball.
UMBC won 21 games in the 2016-17 season, the second most in school history and the program finished as the nation’s third-most improved team, with a +13 mark, finishing behind Minnesota and UCLA.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Odom signed a contract worth $160,000 in his first year with UMBC. And, as far as the Retrievers are concerned, Odom has been worth every, single penny. UMBC defeated top-seed Vermont in the America East championship game this year.
2. He Played College Basketball at Hampden-Sydney
Odom graduated from Hampden-Sydney in 1996 where he was a four-year starter on the men’s basketball team. He honed his future coaching skills as the squad’s point guard, serving as team captain his senior season and leading the team to an 80-30 record over the course of his career.
The future Retriever’s coach also led Hampden-Sydney to two NCAA Division III Tournaments and wrapped up his college career as the school’s all-time leader in three-pointers made and fourth in assists.
3. His Father Was Also a College Basketball Coach
Odom has basketball in his genes.
His father, Dave Odom, was a successful college coach in his own right. He retired from South Carolina in 2008 and won SEC Coach of the Year honors 2004. He also picked up ACC Coach of the Year honors in 1991,1994 and 1995, while at Wake Forest University.
4. Odom Previously Coached at Leonir-Rhyne
Odom took over the head coaching job at Leonir-Rhyne in 2015 and quickly led the team to victories. The Bears reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II tournament in his only season on the sidelines.
Odom also served as a graduate assistant at South Florida and was an assistant coach at Furman, UNC Asheville and American before spending seven years at Virginia Tech. He joined the Charlotte coaching staff in 2010, working as an assistant for five years.
5. He Led UMBC to a CIT Berth in 2016
Odom and the Retrievers made program history even before their epic NCAA performance. UMBC had never won a postseason game prior to the 2016-17 season, but the squad notched three victories in the CIT and became the first America East team to win three postseason games in any tournament.
Source: Heavy Sports