Champions Award

Head coach Mark Edwards and the Washington University Bears men’s basketball team joined an illustrious group that has won back-to-back NCAA Division III National Championships when the team repeated as NCAA Division III titlists with its victory over No. 6-ranked Richard Stockton last March. The Bears joined North Park (1978-80), University of Wisconsin-Platteville (1998-99) and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (2004-05) as repeat winners.

After leading Washington University to the 2009 national title and a school-record 29-2 season, Edwards was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and Molten/DIII News Division III National Coach of the Year. He guided the Bears to its third straight Final Four appearance and the 2009 University Athletic Association (UAA) title. “As we found out all year long with this team, we find ways to win,” said Edwards following the Bears’ 61-52 victory over Richard Stockton.

Senior Sean Wallis was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, averaging 15.5 points and 7.5 assists per game at the Final Four. Wallis was joined on the All-Tournament Team by two teammates, senior Tyler Nading and junior Aaron Thompson.
Nading finished his career at Washington U. third in scoring with 1,552 points and first in steals (187) and games played (116). Wallis capped off his recordbreaking season with 251 assists, and broke J.J. Siepierski’s (1993-96) all-time WU record with 566.
“When you have two seniors who go through four years and walk out with two national championship trophies, I think that speaks for itself,” Edwards added. “At the end of four years they accomplished some things – and basketball was a big part of it, that along with friendships. But getting themselves prepared to move on in life is the biggest part.”

The 2008 championship team was paced by Nading, Thompson and senior Troy Ruths, as the school collected its first national title by a men’s team in school history – and the first men’s basketball national championship in the state of Missouri. Ruths, now working on his Ph.D. in computer science at Rice University, was selected as the D3hoops.com and DIII News National Player of the Year, Jostens Awards Recipient and the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American of the Year honoree. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2008 tournament after scoring 33 points in the Bears’ 90-68 victory over No. 2-ranked and defending national champion Amherst College in the championship game. Thompson averaged 17 points and four assists per game and joined him on the All-Tournament Team.

“I think we played two great games against two good teams,” said Edwards. “To me that’s what basketball is all about. That’s
Division III athletics and these are the kids that exemplify that.”