Simon Named the Recipient of 2021 Jim Phelan Award

BOSTON, Mass. – announced the winner of the 2021 Jim Phelan Award and Southern Utah’s Todd Simon has been named the recipient of the award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top Division I coach.

“In the five seasons before Todd Simon took over, Southern Utah averaged seven wins per season,” said Angela Lento Vice President of “He has shown a great ability to do more with less and there is no question that he will do great things in coaching, before his career is over.”

Simon just wrapped up his fifth year coaching at Southern Utah University, leading his Thunderbirds to their first-ever Big Sky Conference Regular Season Title and a 20-4 record this season. He was named Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year after directing SUU to the No. 1 overall seed in the Big Sky Conference Tournament and coached four players to the various Big Sky All-Conference teams.

The Thunderbirds finished the regular season with a .864 winning percentage, which was the best in the program’s Division I history. They also finished their Big Sky Conference schedule with a .857 winning percentage, with the previous high for the program in the league being .450.

Southern Utah finished the regular season with the fourth-best scoring offense in the nation at 84.2 points per game. They were also eighth in the NCAA in scoring margin with a +14.7.

The Jim Phelan Award is named in honor of a legendary bow-tied coach who spent his entire career at Mount Saint Mary’s University.

Phelan led the Mountaineers to the 1962 NCAA Men’s Division II Basketball Championship. When he retired in 2003, after coaching for 49 years, he had amassed 830 wins (overall record of 830-524) in all divisions. In those 49 years, 19 of his teams amassed 20 or more wins in a season.

2021 Jim Phelan Award Finalists

Casey Alexander, Belmont

Tony Bennett, Virginia

Mike Boynton, Oklahoma State

Isaac Brown, Wichita State

Scott Davenport, Bellarmine

Darian DeVries, Drake

Scott Drew, Baylor

Andy Enfield, USC

Mark Few, Gonzaga

Dennis Gates, Cleveland State

Leonard Hamilton, Florida State

Chris Holtmann, Ohio State

Juwan Howard, Michigan

Bob Huggins, West Virginia

Pat Kelsey, Winthrop

Eric Konkol, Louisiana Tech

Ritchie McKay, Liberty

Porter Moser, Loyola Chicago

Eric Mussleman, Arkansas

Nate Oats, Alabama

Kelvin Sampson, Houston

Byron Smith, Prairie View A&M

Preston Spradlin, Morehead State

Brad Underwood, Illinois

Past Winners of the Jim Phelan Award

2020: Steve Pikiell, Rutgers

2019: Ritchie McKay, Liberty

2018: Chris Holtmann, Ohio State

2017: Frank Martin, South Carolina

2016: Greg Gard, Wisconsin

2015: Bob Huggins, West Virginia

2014: Tim Miles, Nebraska

2013: Dana Altman, Oregon

2012: Mike Brey, Notre Dame

2011: Stew Morrill, Utah State

2010: Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh

2009: John Calipari, Memphis

2008: Bo Ryan, Wisconsin

2007: Tony Bennett, Washington State

2006: Ben Howland, UCLA

2005: Tubby Smith, Kentucky

2004: Phil Martelli, Saint Joseph’s

2003: Mark Slonaker, Mercer

Story and photo courtesy of SUU Athletics