(Hutchinson CC Sports Information) HUTCHINSON, Kan. - Leading the Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team to its first national championship in 23 years, head coach Steve Eck was named the NJCAA Spalding Division I Men's Basketball Coach of the Year on Monday.
Eck guided the 2016-17 Blue Dragons to the 2017 NJCAA men's basketball national championship on March 26 after the Blue Dragons defeated Eastern Florida State 84-58 in front of a jam-packed Sports Arena.
The national championship was a culmination of a 35-2 season, in which the Blue Dragons won its second-straight Jayhawk Conference championship.
Completing his eighth season at Hutchinson, Eck is 231-46 with the Blue Dragons. That tenure includes 67-7 over the past two seasons, both of which reached the NJCAA Tournament championship game. Eck is now No. 2 in all-time coaching victories at Hutchinson.
In 2016, the Blue Dragons lost to Salt Lake in the national championship game. He is 553-96 in 19 seasons as a head coach at Butler, Redlands, Cowley and Hutchinson.
Eck has guided the Blue Dragons to the national tournament four times – 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 – two Region VI Tournament championships and two Jayhawk Conference championships.
With Samajae Haynes-Jones finishing his career in ninth place on the career scoring list, Eck's players now own four spots in the Top 10 – Kadeem Allen, 3rd; Bashir Ahmed, 6th; Haynes-Jones, 9th; and Joe Mitchell 10th – and seven player in the Blue Dragon Top 25 career scorers.
Eck now has an NJCAA Division II national championship and Division I national runner-up with Redlands and a national runner-up and national championship with the Blue Dragons.
(Photo by Hutchinson CC Sports Information / Andrew Carpenter)