After 33 seasons as head coach of the men’s basketball programme, Bob McKillop is retiring after leading Davidson College to 23 conference championships (15 regular season, 8 tournament), 10 NCAA Tournament appearances, and over 600 wins.
McKillop, a Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame nominee, is the most successful coach in school and league history, finishing his storied career with 634 victories, ranking 54th in NCAA Division I wins.
McKillop led the Wildcats to their second-most wins in a single season in 2021-22, going 27-7 overall with a program-best 15-3 record in Atlantic 10 play. McKillop’s final season was highlighted by the school’s second NCAA Tournament at-large bid, as well as his 11th (9 – SoCon, 2 – A-10) Conference Coach of the Year honour.
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 were among McKillop’s 19 postseason appearances.
With victories over three nationally ranked opponents—Gonzaga, Georgetown, and Wisconsin—the 2007-08 NABC National Coach of the Year led Davidson to the 2008 NCAA Midwest Regional Championship game. The Wildcats’ incredible run came to an end with a two-point loss to eventual champion Kansas, and Davidson was ranked ninth in the ESPN/USA Today poll at the close of the season.
Along with tying the school’s single-season win record with 29, McKillop and the ‘Cats went on a 25-game winning streak, the nation’s longest, before falling to the Jayhawks on the eve of the Final Four.
Under McKillop’s leadership, the Wildcats won 20 games 17 times, and seven teams won 25 games or more.
McKillop’s teams competed in the Southern Conference for 22 years, during which time they had one of the most spectacular runs in league history. From 1992 through 2014, Davidson won 447 games, including a 278-88 record versus league opponents, earning McKillop the conference’s most decorated coach.
The ‘Cats went undefeated in league play three times under McKillop’s tenure, including a 20-0 record in 2007-08. From 2007 through 2009, Davidson enjoyed a 43-game conference winning run. It came within one of tying the SoCon record and being the eighth-longest in NCAA history.
Davidson College administration announced on Feb. 1, 2014, during a pregame ceremony honouring McKillop’s 25th season, that the basketball floor inside John M. Belk Arena would be renamed “McKillop Court.”
McKillop led the Wildcats to the Atlantic 10 regular season title and their first-ever NCAA Tournament at-large berth in their inaugural season, despite being picked to place 12th in the preseason poll.
The ‘Cats have won two regular season crowns (2015, 2022), a tournament title (2018), and overall 91 league wins in eight seasons in the Atlantic 10, while progressing to postseason play six times (3 – NCAA, 3 – NIT).
On Jan. 29, 2022, McKillop coached his 1,000th career game at Davidson, becoming only the 10th coach in NCAA Division I history to do it at a single school.
McKillop’s teams have also had success off the field. Since the NCAA began measuring it in 2003, he has maintained a perfect Academic Progress Rate of 1,000 each year.
McKillop, a 1972 Hofstra graduate, has coached eight All-Americans, an Academic All-American, 11 Conference Players of the Year, five Freshman of the Year, and 73 All-Conference honours in his career.
Seventy-seven of his players have gone on to play professionally, including Stephen Curry, the seventh overall choice in the 2009 NBA draught, who has led the Golden State Warriors to four NBA titles while also winning back-to-back NBA MVP awards and, most recently, a Finals MVP award.
McKillop has coached more than 40 foreign players from 24 different nations, and is well-known for his global contacts.
McKillop, who was inducted into the Hofstra and NYC Basketball Halls of Fame, was a history teacher and coach before being signed and then cut by the Philadelphia 76ers.
McKillop, a Queens, New York native, began his coaching career at Holy Trinity High School on Long Island (1973-78), where he had an 86-25 record. In 1978, he became an assistant coach on Eddie Biedenbach’s staff at Davidson before returning to New York a year later to become the head coach at Long Island Lutheran (1979-89). McKillop finished with a 182-51 record and five New York State Championships during his time there.
McKillop was hired as the head coach of Davidson on May 19, 1989, by then-Director of Athletics Terry Holland.
McKillop and his wife, Cathy, have three children: Kerrin, a 2002 Davidson graduate, Matt, a 2006 NCAA Tournament team player and 2006 graduate, and Brendan, a 2008 Elite Eight team member and 2011 graduate.
Maggie, Claire, Jack, Hazel, and Rosie Marie McKillop are the McKillops’ five grandkids.
Matt McKillop, a former Davidson standout and longtime assistant coach, was named the program’s 19th head men’s basketball coach today, according to the release.