Belmont coach retiring after 33 years, 805 wins

Belmont head coach Rick Byrd is retiring after 33 seasons with the Bruins, the school announced Monday.

Byrd took over at the school in 1986, when the program was still in the NAIA.

"For the past 33 years, it has been my privilege to work with, and for, a remarkable community of men and women at Belmont University," Byrd said via statement. "Throughout my tenure as men's basketball coach, our program has received great support from Belmont's administration, faculty, staff and students. For this, I am forever grateful. Personally, I have been the beneficiary of a very supportive family that I could count on every single day, a loyal circle of friends who consistently offered encouragement, and a terrific fan base that has embraced our program and our players for over three decades. Most importantly, it has been an honor to coach the young men that have brought credit to Belmont University, not only by how they played the game, but how they represented our university all over our country."

Byrd led Belmont to eight NCAA tournament appearances, including a win over Temple in this season's First Four. The Bruins then lost to Maryland in the first round. He won five Ohio Valley Conference regular-season titles in the past seven years after winning five Atlantic Sun titles in the Bruins' final seven years in that conference.

"Belmont University is blessed to be a place that still seeks the high standard of making athletics about developing attitudes and skills for living a life of integrity, humility, and service to others while giving your best and learning resilience to deal with life's disappointments with grace," Belmont president Dr. Bob Fisher said in a statement. "No one exemplifies that type of character better than Rick Byrd. His leadership is a point of great pride not just for our men's basketball program or the athletics department, but for the entire university. I am deeply grateful for his life of service to Belmont University and his influence in shaping the lives of so many along the way. He's simply the best!"

The 65-year old Byrd ends his career with 805 victories, ranking 12th all-time among Division I head coaches, and his career conference winning percentage ranks second all-time behind Gonzaga's Mark Few. Before taking over at Belmont, Byrd spent time as the head coach at Lincoln Memorial and Maryville, and was an assistant coach at Maryville and Tennessee Tech.

Byrd's retirement leaves four active Division I coaches with at least 800 wins -- Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim, Roy Williams and Bob Huggins.

Byrd is among the 2019 nominees for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.