Bob McKillop retires after 33 years leading Davidson in basketball

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.

Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer McKillop, 71, is the most successful coach in school and league history and concludes his illustrious career at 54th on the NCAA Division I wins list with 634 wins.

During the 2021-22 campaign, McKillop led the Wildcats to the second most wins in a single season at 27-7 overall, which included a 15-3 mark in the Atlantic 10 game. – SoCon, 2 – A-10) Conference Coach of the Year honor, McKillop’s final campaign was crowned by the school’s second overall NCAA Tournament offering.

In all, teams coached by McKillop have reached the postseason 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 took Davidson to the 2008 NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Championship game with wins over three nationally ranked opponents – Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin. The Wildcats’ unbelievable run ended with a two-point loss to eventual champion Kansas, and Davidson ended the campaign with a final ranking of ninth in the ESPN/USA Today poll.

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In addition to tying the school’s single-season win record with 29, McKillop and the ‘Cats had a 25-game winning streak, the longest streak in the country, before falling to the Jayhawks at the door of the Final Four.

The Wildcats have reached the 20-win threshold 17 times under McKillop’s leadership, while seven teams have won 25 games or more.

For 22 years, McKillop’s teams competed in the Southern Conference, where they had one of the most memorable runs in league history. From 1992 to 2014, Davidson won 447 games, including a 278–88 record against the league, making McKillop the most decorated coach in the conference’s 100-year existence.

In addition to winning 13 regular season titles and seven tournament crowns as SoCon members, the ‘Cats went undefeated in the league three times under McKillop, most notably a 20-0 record in 2007-08. Davidson had a streak of 43 straight conference wins from 2007-09. It was one step away from equaling the SoCon record and the eighth longest in NCAA history.

On February 1, 2014, during a pre-game ceremony celebrating McKillop’s 25th season, Davidson College administrators announced that the basketball court inside the John M. Belk Arena would be named “McKillop Court” in his honor.

Chosen to finish 12th in the 2014-15 preseason poll, McKillop guided the Wildcats to the Atlantic 10 regular season title in his inaugural season and his first NCAA Tournament overall selection.

In eight seasons on the Atlantic 10, the ‘Cats have won two regular season titles (2015, 2022), a tournament crown (2018), and a total of 91 league wins, while advancing to the postseason six times (3 – NCAA, 3 – NIT).

McKillop coached his 1,000th career game at Davidson on January 29, 2022, becoming just the 10th head coach in NCAA Division I history to reach the milestone in a school.

McKillop’s teams have also had success off the court. He has had a perfect academic progress rate of 1,000 every year since the NCAA began tracking it in 2003.

A Hofstra graduate in 1972, McKillop has coached eight All-Americans, one Academic All-American, 11 Conference Players of the Year, five Freshman of the Year and 73 selections for all conferences.

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Fifty-seven of its players went on to play professionally, including Stephen Curry, the 7th pick in the 2009 NBA draft, who led the Golden State Warriors to four NBA titles while earning back-to-back NBA MVP honors.

Long known for his connections around the world, McKillop has coached over 40 international players from 24 different countries.

Inducted into the Hofstra Basketball and New York Basketball Hall of Fame, McKillop was hired and later cut by the Philadelphia 76ers before becoming a history teacher and coach.

A native of Queens, NY, McKillop’s coaching career began at Holy Trinity High School (1973-78) on Long Island, where he achieved an 86-25 record. In 1978, he joined Eddie Biedenbach’s team at Davidson as an assistant coach before returning to New York a year later to serve as head coach for the Long Island Lutheran (1979-89). There, McKillop compiled a 182-51 mark to track five New York State Championships.

On May 19, 1989, McKillop was hired as head coach of the Davidson by then athletics director Terry Holland.

McKillop and his wife Cathy have three children – Kerrin, a 2002 Davidson graduate, Matt, a 2006 NCAA Tournament team member and 2006 graduate, and Brendan, a 2008 Elite Eight team member and 2011 graduate.

The McKillops have five grandchildren, Maggie, Claire, Jack, Hazel and Rosie Marie.

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