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Odom named nation’s top 1st year coach

After leading the UMBC Retrievers men’s basketball team to a 14-game turnaround and their first winning season since the 2007-08 NCAA Tournament campaign, Ryan Odom earned national recognition as the recipient of the 2017 Joe B. Hall Award, which is presented to the top first-year coach in Division I each year.

UMBC’s 21 victories were the second most in school history and the turnaround was third in the nation only behind Minnesota and UCLA. Odom also led the Retrievers to their first-ever national postseason victory as they went on a run to the semifinals of the College Tournament.

“I would like to thank the committee for this prestigious award,” Odom said. “It is a testament to the work that our players and staff put in all year. I’m humbled by this recognition and I’m extremely blessed to coach such great young men.”

UMBC’s offense was one of the best in the country during Odom’s inaugural campaign. Odom, who came to UMBC after a year at Division II Lenoir-Rhyne, brought his fast-paced and 3-point heavy offense with him. This year the Retrievers ranked 27th in the nation as they averaged 79 points per game and tied for 18th in the country with 9.6 made 3-pointers per game.

UMBC smashed its single-season 3-pointer mark with 287 made this season. The previous record was 248 made in the 2007-08 season. Their 2,759 points this year also broke the 2,450 points scored in the 07-08 season. UMBC set a new single-game points record with 120 scored against the Citadel on December 19.

“Ryan is an excellent coach, but a better person,” said UMBC Director of Athletics Tim Hall. “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.”

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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