DAVIDSON – Bob McKillop, who led Davidson College to 23 conference championships (15 – regular season, 8 – tournament), 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and over 600 wins, is retiring after 33 seasons as head coach of the men’s basketball program.
A Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame nominee, McKillop, 71, is the most successful coach in school and league history and concludes his illustrious career ranked 54th on the NCAA Division I wins list with 634 victories.
During the 2021-22 campaign, McKillop led the Wildcats to their second-most wins in a single season, going 27-7 overall, which included a program-best 15-3 mark in Atlantic 10 play. In addition to earning his 11th (9 – SoCon, 2 – A-10) Conference Coach of the Year honor, McKillop’s final campaign was capped by the school’s second NCAA Tournament at-large bid.
In all, McKillop-coached teams reached postseason play 19 times — the NCAA Tournament in 1998, 2002, 2006-08, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2018, 2022, the NIT in 1994, 1996, 2005, 2009, 2014, 2016, 2019 and 2021, and the CBI in 2011.
The 2007-08 NABC National Coach of the Year led Davidson to the 2008 NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Championship game with victories over three nationally-ranked foes — Gonzaga, Georgetown, and Wisconsin. The Wildcats’ unbelievable run ended with a two-point loss to eventual champion Kansas, and Davidson finished the campaign with a final ranking of ninth in the ESPN/USA Today Poll.
Along with tying the school’s single-season record for wins with 29, McKillop and the ‘Cats strung together 25 consecutive victories, the longest streak in the nation, before falling to the Jayhawks on the doorstep of the Final Four.
The Wildcats hit the 20-win plateau 17 times under McKillop’s leadership, while seven teams won 25 games or more.
For 22 years, McKillop’s teams competed in the Southern Conference where they put together one of the most remarkable runs in league history. From 1992-2014, Davidson won 447 games, including a 278-88 record against league competition, making McKillop the most decorated coach in the conference’s 100-year existence.
Along with winning 13 regular season titles and seven tournament crowns as members of the SoCon, the ‘Cats went undefeated in league play three times under McKillop, highlighted by a 20-0 record in 2007-08. Davidson had a 43-game conference win streak from 2007-09. It was one away from tying the SoCon record and the eighth longest in NCAA history.
On Feb. 1, 2014, during a pregame ceremony celebrating McKillop’s 25th season, Davidson College administrators announced the basketball court inside John M. Belk Arena would be named “McKillop Court” in his honor.
Picked to finish 12th in the 2014-15 preseason poll, McKillop guided the Wildcats to the Atlantic 10 regular season title in their inaugural season and their first-ever NCAA Tournament at-large selection.
In eight seasons in the Atlantic 10, the ‘Cats have won two regular season titles (2015, 2022), a tournament crown (2018) and totaled 91 league wins, while advancing to postseason play six times (3 – NCAA, 3 – NIT).
McKillop coached his 1,000th career game at Davidson on January 29, 2022, becoming just the 10th coach in NCAA Division I history to reach the milestone at one school.
McKillop’s teams have been successful off the court as well. He has had a perfect Academic Progress Rate of 1,000 each year since the NCAA began tracking it in 2003.
A 1972 graduate of Hofstra, McKillop has coached eight All-Americans, an Academic All-American, 11 Conference Players of the Year, five Freshman of the Year and 73 all-conference selections.
Fifty-seven of his players have gone on to play professionally, including Stephen Curry, the 7th pick in the 2009 NBA draft, who has led the Golden State Warriors to three NBA titles while earning back-to-back NBA MVP honors.
Long-known for his connections around the globe, McKillop has coached more than 40 international players from 24 different countries.
An inductee into the Hofstra Basketball and NYC Basketball Hall of Fame, McKillop was signed and then cut by the Philadelphia 76ers before becoming a history teacher and coach.
A native of Queens, N.Y., McKillop’s coaching career started at Holy Trinity High School (1973-78) on Long Island where he achieved an 86-25 record. In 1978, he joined Eddie Biedenbach’s staff at Davidson as an assistant coach before returning to New York a year later to serve as the head coach at Long Island Lutheran (1979-89). There, McKillop compiled a mark of 182-51 to go along with five New York State Championships.
On May 19, 1989, McKillop was hired as the head coach at Davidson by then-Director of Athletics Terry Holland.
McKillop and his wife Cathy have three children — Kerrin, a 2002 Davidson graduate, Matt, a member of the 2006 NCAA Tournament team and 2006 graduate, and Brendan, a member of the 2008 Elite Eight team and a 2011 graduate.
The McKillops have five grandchildren, Maggie, Claire, Jack, Hazel, and Rosie Marie.
THE MCKILLOP FILE
· Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Nominee
· 2008 NABC National Coach of the Year
· 2008 Coach Clair Bee Award
· 11-Time Conference Coach of the Year
· 2007 & 2008 Hugh Durham Award Finalist
· New York City Basketball Hall of Fame
· 2017 Joe Lapchick Character Award Recipient
· 2022 Naismith Coach of the Year Late Season Watch List
Overall Record: 634-380 (33 seasons)
Record at Davidson: Same
Conference Record: 381-148
vs. Big South: 12-14 | vs. Southern Conference: 278-88 | vs. Atlantic 10 Conference: 91-46
Conference Tournament Record: 44-21
Postseason Record: 7-19
NCAA Tournament: 3-10 | NIT: 3-8 | CBI: 1-1
Postseason Appearances: 19
NCAA Tournament: 10 (1998, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2018, 2022)
NIT: 8 (1994, 1996, 2005, 2009, 2014, 2016, 2019, 2021)
CBI: 1 (2011)
Conference Tournament Resume
Conference Regular-Season Titles: 15
Southern Conference: 13 (1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Atlantic 10 Conference: 2 (2015, 2022)
Conference Tournament Titles: 8 (1998, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2018)
Southern Conference: 7 (1998, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013)
Atlantic 10 Conference: 1 (2018)
COURTESY DAVIDSON ATHLETICS