Belmont Bruins’ head coach Rick Byrd is retiring after 33 seasons at the helm, according to an official announcement from the school on Monday.
Byrd, 65, originally took the post as head coach of the Bruins back in 1986, when Belmont was still a part of the NAIA. Byrd led Belmont to eight NCAA tournament appearances, including a win over Temple in this season’s First Four.
“For the past 33 years, it has been my privilege to work with, and for, a remarkable community of men and women at Belmont University,” Byrd said via statement. “Throughout my tenure as men’s basketball coach, our program has received great support from Belmont’s administration, faculty, staff and students. For this, I am forever grateful. Personally, I have been the beneficiary of a very supportive family that I could count on every single day, a loyal circle of friends who consistently offered encouragement, and a terrific fan base that has embraced our program and our players for over three decades. Most importantly, it has been an honor to coach the young men that have brought credit to Belmont University, not only by how they played the game, but how they represented our university all over our country.”
Byrd is among the 2019 nominees for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Belmont University is blessed to be a place that still seeks the high standard of making athletics about developing attitudes and skills for living a life of integrity, humility, and service to others while giving your best and learning resilience to deal with life’s disappointments with grace,” Belmont president Dr. Bob Fisher said in a statement. “No one exemplifies that type of character better than Rick Byrd. His leadership is a point of great pride not just for our men’s basketball program or the athletics department, but for the entire university. I am deeply grateful for his life of service to Belmont University and his influence in shaping the lives of so many along the way. He’s simply the best!”