Belmont coach Rick Byrd retiring after 805 wins

 Belmont coach Rick Byrd retiring after 805 wins

Rick Byrd, who coached the Belmont Bruins for 33 years and is ranked 12th all-time among Division I head coaches with 805 career victories, announced his retirement Monday.

Byrd led Belmont’s transition from an NAIA program to NCAA Division I where he led the Bruins to eight NCAA Tournaments in the last 14 years, including last month with the program’s first at-large berth.

Byrd led Belmont to 17 conference championships with 10 regular season and seven tournament titles since 2006, and only Gonzaga and Kansas have won more in that span. Every player who completed his eligibility under Byrd graduated with only two transfers in the past 15 years.

The Knoxville native started his career as head coach at Lincoln Memorial and Maryville College.

Belmont athletic director Scott Corley says a search for Byrd’s replacement will start immediately.