Gordon named Spalding NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year
Earns prestigious national honor 3 weeks after winning first-ever national title
Colorado Springs, CO – April 14, 2014 -- Phoenix College is proud to announce that Bears’ Men’s Head Basketball Coach Matt Gordon has been named the 2013-14 Spalding NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year. It’s the first time in Gordon’s illustrious 10-year career that he’s earned this prestigious honor. The announcement comes a little over three weeks after Gordon led the Bears to the first men’s basketball national championship in the school’s 93-year history as well as the first-ever NJCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship for the state of Arizona. Gordon was selected for the award by the NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Committee during the 73rd NJCAA Annual Meetings in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
This honor caps a season of historic milestones for Gordon and his program. The first of those came January 22nd, when the Bears defeated their archrivals from South Mountain, putting Gordon in the rarified air of 200 career coaching victories with the school. He became just the 3rd head men’s basketball coach to achieve the honor at the school, and earned the distinction of hitting that mark faster than anyone, including PC Hall of Famer George ‘Dutch’ Hoy. Milestone #2 came a little over a month later when Gordon and the Bears posed for pictures at midcourt at “The Bears’ Den” (the Bears’ home gymnasium) arm-in-arm after racking up their 6th Region I Division II Championship during his tenure with an 18-point victory over Tohono O’odham-thus earning them a trip to Danville, Illinois and the NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament for the second straight year.
The third era-defining moment occurred exactly three weeks later on March 21st, when the Bears came from behind in the final two minutes of the NJCAA Tournament Semifinals against Central Community College-Columbus (NE) to earn a 73-72 win that propelled the Bears to the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game for the first time ever. That made PC the first NJCAA Men’s Basketball team in the history of Maricopa County to get that far, as well as only the 3rd Arizona team ever to participate in an NJCAA Men’s Hoops title game. The final piece of the dream-season puzzle was put in place less than 24 hours later, when the Bears held off numerous challenges from Essex County College (NJ) in the title game to win, 71-67, and earn the national crown for the first time. The normally reserved Gordon was finally able to let go and join in the postgame celebration and subsequent cutting down of the nets, and held the national championship trophy firmly with both hands while making the trip home from Danville to the Valley of the Sun the next day.
Gordon now will put this award next to the six NJCAA Division II District I Coach of the Year Awards he’s accumulated since first taking the head coaching job at PC (the first head coaching job of his career) in 2004, and the NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship’s Coach of the Tournament Award he garnered in Danville last month. “We are extremely proud of Coach Gordon’s accomplishments over the past ten years,” said PC Athletic Director Samantha Ezell. “200 wins, multiple Region I Championships, and now a national championship are unparalleled in Phoenix College history, and we are fortunate to have a coach of that caliber in our department.” Winning the award won’t deter Gordon’s focus this week, since he’s actively recruiting student-athletes to fill his 2014-15 roster, and anticipating congratulating some of his current sophomores as he helps them find four-year university homes, and helps them keep their grades in line to graduate next month and participate in PC Commencement Ceremonies May 7th.