Head men’s basketball coach Darrin Horn is one among the roughly 60 college basketball coaches hired in the spring of 2019. Coach Horn was ranked fifth on CBS Sports Writer Matt Norlander’s list of the top 12 coaches who had strong debuts during the 2019-20 season.
“Darrin Horn: Only two first-year coaches took home automatic bids to a 2020 NCAA Tournament that never was. Horn and his NKU Norse were there with Belmont in doing so,” Norlander wrote in the CBS article.
He described NKU’s 23-9 season and wrote, “Horn was a bolt from the blue… One year in, it looks like the right call.”
Coach Horn credits the continued success of a transitioning program to the quality of the program as a whole—players, administration and fan support and interest.
“From day one, we received nothing but great support from the University and Norse Nation,” Horn wrote in an email. “Most importantly, our players showed so much maturity. They are the ones that do the work and make all the plays.”
Horn is most proud of the way their program navigated through adversity, such as losing key players due to graduation, transfers and summer and seasonal injuries. Horn commends the team for dealing with a new staff and system as well as taking on elevated roles.
“I think that speaks volumes to the kind of young men we have in our program. They allowed us to coach them – which isn’t always the case,” Horn wrote.
The coaching and support staff also made a huge impact in how the season progressed. Besides deciding to work at NKU, the best decision he made was hiring his staff, Horn wrote.
“They were tremendous, always putting the players and winning above everything. And, TOGETHER, we – and by we, I mean all of the groups I’ve touched on, administration and fans included – were able to win a championship,“ Horn wrote.
NKU was one of the handful of teams to complete their run in the conference tournament with a championship trophy. The team would have debuted in the NCAA this season before the NCAA championship was canceled.
“I just hate it that the seniors didn’t get a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament because they not only earned it, but because they truly believed they could win,” Horn wrote.