Davidson’s Bob McKillop a first-time Basketball Hall of Fame nominee

Davidson’s Bob McKillop a first-time Basketball Hall of Fame nominee

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer) - Bob McKillop, the iconic Davidson coach who installed Stephen Curry as a college star, has been nominated for inclusion in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

McKillop, who arrived at the college north of Charlotte in 1989, has coached the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament nine times and the post-season 17 times. Among those NCAA appearances: a 2008 trip to the final 8 led by Curry, ending in a regional final loss to Kansas.

McKillop was named coach of the year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 2008.

Curry, who grew up in Charlotte, went on to be a lottery pick by the Golden State Warriors and a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player.

McKillop, 69, has won 62% of his games with the Wildcats (583-355). After starting 4-24 in his first season. he had a 3-season run from 2006 through 2009 in which he went 85-20, each season ending in an NCAA appearance.

A first-time nominee, McKillop is in group of college coaches that includes Gene Keady, Rollie Massimino, Eddie Sutton, Bo Ryan and Jay Wright. McKillop is the only coach in that group who didn’t spend time with a national power.

While Lefty Driesell coached Davidson to a national ranking in the 1960s, McKillop dramatically rekindled the basketball program. Fifty-seven of McKillop’s players went on to play professionally.

In addition to recruiting and developing Curry out of Charlotte Christian, he oversaw a move up in conference from the Southern to the Atlantic 10 in 2014.

The shift to the Atlantic 10 provided a conference that regularly gets at-large bids to the NCAA tournament. However, it challenged a Davidson program at a small (about 2,000 students), academically elite college.

Davidson won the A-10 tournament and the automatic bid in 2018, four seasons into joining the league.

McKillop also saw facility improvements, including a practice facility. Davidson’s home floor is named “McKillop Court.”

Much of McKillop’s success has been in recruiting internationally, leaning on relationships he first established as a high school coach in metropolitan New York City.

Finalists for the 2020 Hall of Fame class will be announced during the NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago in February. The selections for 2020 will be announced during the Final Four in Atlanta in early April.

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