The college basketball website D3Hoops.com named Head Coach Chris Bunch Coach of the Year of the Midwest Region. Bunch is the first coach from the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) to win the award.
Bunch found out he had won the award Monday, March 17 but he almost missed it.
“I had gone (on D3Hoops.com) to see if Ahmad (Smith) or Kevin (Miller) had made (the All-Region team) or not. I almost turned the page off and that’s when I saw (my award),” Bunch said.
Bunch said he would not recognize the Coach of the Year award as an individual honor. He said he told his players individual awards are a team award, because the recognition would not have been achieved without the help of the whole team.
Bunch said he was not expecting to win the award, let alone to be nominated. He said the Coach of the Year award is usually given to a coach who has gone deep into the postseason.
“If you would have said, ‘Hey Coach Bunch, who do you think the coach of the year is?’ I would have said Ron Rose, the coach of Illinois Wesleyan,” Bunch said.
But Pat Coleman, executive director of D3Hoops.com, said talented teams like IWU are so good, they don’t exceed any expectations.
“We want to spotlight the coaches that exceeded preseason predictions,” Coleman said.
Aside from the regular season statistics, Coleman said Bunch also won the award because Webster lost to IWU by only one point. Every other team that played IWU in the Division III tournament so far has lost by double-digits.
With the off-season one week in for the men’s team, Bunch is already focused on recruiting and building the team for next season.
“If (recruits) get on our website, then maybe they’ll know (about my award), but I’m not going to push that,” Bunch said. “I’m going to talk about our success (as a team).”