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Liberty’s Ritchie McKay named Skip Prosser Award finalist

libertyLiberty men’s basketball head coach Ritchie McKay was named a finalists for the 2017 Skip Prosser Man of the Year award. The honor is presented annually to those achieve success at a high level on the basketball court but also display high moral integrity off the court as well.

The award is named after the late Skip Prosser, who coached at Wake Forest and suddenly passed away in 2007. In 14 seasons, Prosser posted a career record of 291-146 in 14 seasons a Loyola, Xavier and Wake Forest. Past winners include Xavier’s Chris Mack and Notre Dame’s Mike Brey.

This is the second postseason award that McKay has been nominated for this week as he was also named a finalists for the Ben Jobe award, which rewards the top minority coach in Division I basketball.

McKay is one of 20 finalists after a historical season where the Flames won a school record 14 games in the Big South. In a season where Liberty faced nine teams with at least 20 wins, Liberty posted a 20-win season for the first time since the 2008-09 season, during McKay’s first stint at Liberty. McKay’s squad raised its level of play during conference play as they won a school record its first seven road games in the Big South. Finishing in a tie for second place in the Big South this year, the Flames had its highest finish in the Big South standings since the 2010-11 season when Liberty placed second.

Liberty challenged itself this year, with nine of the 11 opponents they lost to this season making a postseason tournament. As a result, Liberty’s players elevated their game as four players received five All-Big South selections in Myo Baxter-Bell, John Dawson, Ryan Kemrite and Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz.

McKay and his staff implemented a defense that was one of the best in the country as the Flames ranked 19thin Division I in scoring defense, allowing just 63.4 points per game. On offense, Liberty was also effective from the three-point line, making 9.1 three pointers per game, which ranked 37th in the country. Since Liberty has been a member of Division I, the school has posted four 20-win seasons and of those four seasons, two of them have been under McKay.

The award recipient will be announced in Phoenix, Ariz. where the NCAA men’s basketball championship will take place.