By From the Lowell Sun
LOWELL -- Greg Herenda, fresh off his first season as head coach of the UMass Lowell men's basketball team, was named the East Region Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
The honor is the second major award presented to Herenda this year.
The North Bergen, N.J., native was named the Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year on Feb. 26 after leading the River Hawks to a second-place finish in the 2008-09 regular season.
Herenda, named head coach on May 16, helped guide UMass Lowell from a 12-17 team in 2007-08 (8-14 NE-10) into a 21-8 power (16-6 NE-10) this year.
The River Hawks earned the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament following a two-year absence.
"I am truly humbled by receiving this great honor," Herenda said. "This award is so special to me because of all the great coaches in this region."
UMass Lowell ranked among top five NE-10 team leaders in 10 categories in 2008-09 and led the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (.375), 3-point field goals per game (9.1) and steals per game (10.6).
The River Hawks also ranked among national leaders in several categories, including steals (sixth), 3-point field goals per game (12th), scoring defense (17th, 62.4) and turnover margin (+3.7, 20th).
"I give all of the credit to my staff and players," Herenda added. "They worked and played so hard for me this entire year. Without each and every one of them we would not have had the season that
we did. I am a very fortunate coach to have the opportunity to go to practice with this team every day."
UMass Lowell returns all 12 players for the 2009-10 season.
Herenda, who played at Merrimack College, lives in North Andover.