UW-Oshkosh’s Matt Lewis named 2019 NCAA DIII Coach of the Year Award

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UW-Oshkosh head coach Matt Lewis has been named the 2019 recipient of the Glenn Robinson Award, which is presented annually to the top men’s basketball coach in the NCAA Division III.

Lewis guided the Titans to the first national championship in the 121-year history of the program with their decisive 96-82 triumph in the title game over Swarthmore College (Pa.) on March 16.

Lewis becomes the first head coach of a national champion to receive the Glenn Robinson Award since it was first presented in 2011. Lewis, the 2019 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Coach of the Year, was also tabbed Division III Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches Association and D3hoops.com.

Lewis, who took the reins of the Titans in May after six seasons as the team’s top assistant coach, led UW-Oshkosh to numerous program records in his debut season. The Titans established school marks with 29 wins, 2,715 points, 961 made field goals, 2,018 field goal attempts, 1,308 rebounds, 325 made 3-pointers, 866 3-point attempts, and 148 blocks. The Titans’ totals for made 3-pointers and 3-point attempts are also WIAC records, while their win total ranks fifth in league history.

Lewis’ .906 winning percentage is the best among all 1,099 active NCAA men’s basketball coaches.

Under Lewis’ direction UW-Oshkosh produced a school-record 21-game winning streak from Nov. 20 through Feb. 9. The fourth longest winning streak in WIAC history included 12 straight victories to open WIAC play as the Titans went on to claim their first outright league title since 1978.

Lewis’ squad boasted four All-WIAC First Team selections for the first time in school history. WIAC Player of the Year Ben Boots, the NABC’s Central Region Player of the Year, also garnered All-America First Team honors from the NABC and D3hoops.com. UW-Oshkosh’s Jack Flynn, who was named Most Outstanding Player at the Division III Championship, received All-America Fourth Team plaudits from D3hoops.com.

Lewis led UW-Oshkosh back to its second straight Division III championship game. The Titans’ national title this season avenged a 78-72 loss to Nebraska Wesleyan University loss in last year’s championship game. The Titans are the third team to come back and win the national title after falling in the previous year’s championship contest. Wittenberg University (Ohio) was the first program to accomplish the feat with its redemptive 1977 title before State University of New York at Potsdam went from runner-up in 1985 to champion in 1986.

Lewis and UW-Oshkosh began their triumphant NCAA postseason journey with wins of 86-62 over Lake Forest College (Ill.) in the first round and 108-86 over University of Northwestern (Minn.) in the second round to secure the Collegeville (Minn.) Regional title. The Titans then reached the Final Four by clinching the Oshkosh Sectional championship with triumphs of 86-75 over Loras College (Iowa) in the third round and 82-79 over Guilford College (Va.) during the fourth round in Kolf Sports Center. UW-Oshkosh won its national semifinal contest, 104-85, over Wheaton College (Ill.) in Fort Wayne.

The Titans averaged 93.7 points in their six Division III Championship wins and set a school NCAA postseason scoring record with the 108-point performance against University of Northwestern. UW-Oshkosh won by an average of 15.5 points per game en route to hoisting the national championship trophy.

Lewis’ Titan team concluded the season ranked high among the Division III leaders in several statistical categories, including fourth in total rebounds (1,308), seventh in blocks (148), 10th in average scoring margin (+15.7), 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.50) and made 3-pointers (325), and 13th in turnovers per game (10.6) and average rebounding margin (+8.8).

Lewis was named Titans interim head coach after former UW-Oshkosh head coach Pat Juckem accepted the top position of the Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) men’s basketball program.

The Glenn Robinson Award’s namesake is Division III’s all-time winningest coach, leading Franklin & Marshall College (Pa.) to a 967-359 record in his 48 seasons since the 1971-72.

The previous winners of the Glenn Robinson Award were Charlie Brock from Springfield College (Mass.) in 2018, Kevin App from Williams College (Mass.) in 2017, John Krikorian from Christopher Newport University (Va.) in 2016, Jon VanderWal from Marietta College (Ohio) in 2015, Greg Dunne from The College at Brockport (N.Y.) in 2014, Chris Bartley from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Mass.) in 2013, Matt Neil from Hope College (Mich.) in 2012 and Shawn Cassidy from Concordia University Wisconsin in 2011.

images courtesy of UW-Oshkosh

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Justin R. Mitchell

Justin is the founding editor of the Oshkosh Independent.

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