PHOENIX — Hawai’i Pacific University’s Darren Vorderbruegge has been named the recipient of the 2017 Clarence “Big House” Gaines Award. The award is presented annually to the top NCAA Division II coach in America by College Insider.
Vorderbruegge led the Sharks to a 29-3 record, winning the PacWest Conference regular season and conference tournament championships to earn the honor giving to the nation’s top Division II coach.
The Sharks advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the second time in school history and won the program’s first game in the NCAA II Basketball Tournament.
“It is a great honor to receive the Clarence Gaines Award,” said Vorderbruegge. “I view this recognition as a team award for Hawai’i Pacific University. Associate Head Coach Jesse Nakanishi and our entire staff were invaluable in contributing to the success of our team this year.”
“The seniors on our squad led this exceptional group of young men with a specific focus. I am blessed with a supportive family that I consider the basis for any accomplishments.”
Coach V concluded his ninth season as the men’s head basketball coach at HPU. His 129 wins makes him the winningest active collegiate coach in the State of Hawai’i. The program has been on a steady climb during his tenure and this year exploded due to excellence on both ends. Hawaii Pacific led the PacWest in scoring (86.3 points per game), scoring defense (68.1 ppg) and field goal percentage (.487).
“Coach Vorderbruegge has taken the program to new heights,” said CollegeInsider.com’s Angela Lento. “His team plays an exciting brand of basketball and they defend.”
He’s the first coach to lead the program to four consecutive winning seasons during its 19 years as a NCAA member.
One of the true legends of all-time, Gaines retired from Winston-Salem State University in 1993 with a record of 828-446. At the time he was the winningest active basketball coach in NCAA history. Gaines was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.
During his 47-year tenure as coach and athletic director at WSSU he coached professional basketball greats Cleo Hill (first African-American from an historically Black college and university to be drafted No. 1 by the National Basketball Association, St. Louis Hawks, 1961) and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe.