THIS IS EPISODE 248 OF THE SPORTS SPECTRUM PODCAST
After spending six seasons working under Tony Bennett as associate head coach at Virginia, Ritchie McKay returned to Liberty as the men’s basketball head coach on April 1, 2015. McKay previously served as the program’s head coach during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.
Despite being predicted to finish 11th in the 2015-16 Big South preseason poll, McKay guided the Flames to a top-five seed and a first-round bye in the 2016 Big South Championship, finishing 10-8 in conference play. The Flames’ finish in the standings prompted McKay to receive Big South Coach of the Year honors.
Before returning to Liberty, McKay helped the Cavaliers post a 136-64 record, including back-to-back 30-win seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
McKay posted a 39-28 overall record in his first stint with Liberty, and a 19-13 mark in Big South play. He was named the seventh head coach in program history on March 26, 2007.
Coming into the 2018-19 season, McKay had compiled a 204-186 career coaching record in 13 seasons as a head coach and has the winningest career coaching record in program history with a .582 winning percentage. Prior to his first stint at Liberty, McKay served as head coach at Portland State (1996-98), Colorado State (1998-00), Oregon State (2000-02) and New Mexico (2002-07).
This season, Liberty is having a terrific season, already winning 20 games (through Feb. 15) and is the favorite to make the NCAA Tournament out of the Big South Conference. On Dec. 29, Liberty defeated a Pac-12 opponent for the first time in its school’s history, as it went into historic Pauley Pavilion and beat UCLA, 73-58.
On this episode of the podcast, we talk to coach McKay about how this season has been going, his faith journey, staying connected to Christ during a long season, and the differences coaching for a place like Virginia compared to coaching at Liberty.
On This Day in 2015: Liberty hired Ritchie McKay as its head coach. Safe to say after 56 wins, a Big South Coach of the Year and two postseason appearances Flames Nation is lucky to have Coach McKay! Looking forward to the future of Liberty Basketball!#FlamesUp🔥⬆️ pic.twitter.com/3Wz6lC81sn
— Liberty Men’s Basketball (@LibertyMBB) April 1, 2018
– NEW PODCAST: Tony Bennett, Virginia Men’s Basketball Coach
– NEW PODCAST, Jason Eaker, Oklahoma Baptist Men’s Basketball Coach
– NEW PODCAST: Maria Taylor, ESPN Announcer
– NEW PODCAST: Inky Johnson, former Tennessee defensive back, motivational speaker