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Murray State Head Coach Kevin O’Connor named NJCAA Region II Coach of the Year

March 02, 2020

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Murray State College Men’s Basketball Head Coach Kevin O’Connor was named the NJCAA Division I Region II Coach of the Year for the 2019-2020 season. O’Connor and his Aggies had 22 wins and only six losses overall and went 13-and-three in regional play during the 2019-2020 regular season.

This season, O’Connor, who has coached the Aggies since the summer of 2017, led Murray’s team team to the best overall and conference records and most regular season games won in recent history.  The Aggies were also ranked in national NJCAA Division I polls for the first time in program history when they received a 21st-place ranking in the January 27, 2020 poll. Over the next four weeks, the Aggies rose to as high as 10th place and rode a 13-game winning streak into the last two weeks of the season. Along with O’Connor being announced as Coach of the Year, Aggie sophomore Shem’mario Stephens was named to the first-team All-Region Team and freshman Dyson Plumley was named to the second-team All-Region Team last week.

Additional honors for O’Connor this season include being named HoopDirt.com Junior College Coach of the Week in early February which makes his eligible for the HoopDirt.com’s National Coach of the Year Award which will be announced at the end of the school year. 

O’Connor was named head coach of the men’s basketball program in July 2017 after serving as assistant coach and assistant athletic director at Arizona Western College since 2015. During his time at AWC, O’Connor assisted in back-to-back 20 win seasons, including a Region I Conference Regular Season title and Region I Conference Tournament title in 2016-2017. In his first season with the Matadors, the team reached the Region I Semifinals. O’Connor was instrumental in the recruitment of several key players, including the Freshman of the Year in 2016-2017. While at Arizona Western, O’Connor coached one Second Team All-American, four First Team ACCAC All-Conference selections, and one ACCAC Player of the Year. Along with basketball duties, O’Connor also aided the athletic department with fundraising and event planning.

Prior to Arizona Western College, O’Connor spent one season at Hopkins Academy in Massachusetts working with the men’s and women’s basketball teams and then spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Kansas State University while working on his master’s degree. During that stretch under Bruce Weber, Kansas State went to the NCAA tournament and lost to eventual national runner-up Kentucky. O’Connor also worked under Weber as a student manager for four years at the University of Illinois.

Following the announcement of the Coach of the Year honors, O’Connor and his Aggies look to build on their successes during the regular season as they head into the NJCAA Region II tournament March 5-7 at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee.  On Thursday, March 5 at 6 p.m., the Aggies will play the winner of the March 2 Arkansas Baptist College versus Redlands Community College game to begin tournament play.