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  • March 14, 2019

    John Beilein to Receive Le Moyne College's Highest Honor

    John Beilein, the former Le Moyne basketball coach who has crafted one of the most prolific coaching careers in NCAA history, will be the recipient of the 2019 Simon Le Moyne Award, the College’s highest honor. He will receive the award at the Founders’ Day Gala, which will be held on Friday, Oct. 18.

    “I am absolutely thrilled that John will return to Le Moyne to celebrate a lifetime legacy that goes far beyond basketball,” said President Linda LeMura. “His success on the court is undeniable, but the true measure of John is the positive impact he has made in the lives of so many individuals. He epitomizes the Jesuit ideals of ‘magis’ and caring for others.”

    John’s connection to Le Moyne began even before he came to the Heights in 1983 to start a nine-year stint leading the men’s basketball team. His uncle Thomas J. Niland Jr., Le Moyne’s first basketball coach and athletic director, was responsible for bringing him to Syracuse.

    At Le Moyne, he helped to turn a struggling program into a Division II contender during his nine seasons (1983-92) as coach. In 1987-88, Le Moyne won a school-record 24 games, was crowned Mideast Conference champions and earned a berth in the Division II Tournament. It was during his time at Le Moyne that he developed much of his now well-known offensive system, which involves a considerable amount of spacing, cutting and ball movement. He was inducted into the Gold Wave Hall of Fame at Le Moyne in 2003.

    His legacy at Le Moyne is further solidified by his son Patrick, who is in his fourth season as head basketball coach for the Dolphins. Under Patrick’s leadership, his teams have won 20 games in back to back seasons – the first time that has happened since John was coach. Patrick was not even a week old when John interviewed for the job at Le Moyne.

    With the exception of the University of Michigan – where he has spent the past 12 years – John was at Le Moyne College longer than any of his other head coaching positions. He worked his way to the top of his profession by literally starting at the bottom. Beginning in the mid-1970s his coaching resume reads: Newfane High School junior varsity; Newfane High School varsity; Erie Community College; Nazareth College; Le Moyne College; Canisius College; Richmond University; West Virginia University; and the University of Michigan.

    He has compiled a career record of 799-461 (.628) during his 41 years as a collegiate head coach, recorded 20-plus win seasons on 22 occasions and has finished with a winning record in 34 seasons. His 567 Division I wins places him in the top 10 for career victories among active Division I head coaches.

    John played four seasons (1971-75) at Wheeling College (now Wheeling Jesuit University) serving as team captain during his junior season. He received a bachelor's degree in history from Wheeling before earning a master's degree in education from Niagara in 1981.

    While basketball has played a major role in his life, he counts among his proudest accomplishments his family – his wife of 39 years Kathleen, daughter Seana (Hendricks) and husband Ryan, and three sons, Patrick, Mark and Andrew. John and Kathleen adore their four grandchildren -- Seana and Ryan's children Finley, Johnny, Charlie and the newest addition Thomas, with son Patrick and his wife Kristen.

    Held annually since 1968, Founders’ Day honors an individual, couple or group who have made significant humanitarian contributions to society, serve as prominent leaders in the community, demonstrate a deep responsibility and commitment to improving the quality of life for others, and exemplify the ideals and goals of Le Moyne College and Jesuit education. Over the past 10 years, Founders’ Day has generated more than $3.2 million for student scholarship.
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