Davidson basketball coach Bob McKillop announced his retirement Friday after a storied 33-year run during which he transformed the Wildcats into one of college basketball’s top mid-major programs. McKillop, 71, owns a 634-380 record and will leave the bench after reaching his 10th NCAA Tournament with Davidson in the 2021-22 season. McKillop’s retirement was first reported by 247Sports’ Adam Finkelstein.
McKillop will be succeeded by his son, Matt McKillop, who has spent the past 14 seasons on Davidson’s staff following a four-year playing career under his father.
“We did our due diligence, and after that process it only validated what we already knew,” Davidson athletic director Chris Clunie said. “There was no better person primed take Davidson basketball to the next level.”
Though Davidson’s head coaching position is remaining in the McKillop family, the transition marks a significant shakeup in the Atlantic 10 after the Wildcats won the league with a 27-7 (15-3 A-10) record last season before suffering a 74-73 loss to Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Under Bob McKillop’s watch, Davidson won 11 SoCon regular-season titles and seven SoCon Tournament titles before transitioning to the Atlantic 10 for the 2014-15 season. Since the move, the Wildcats have won an additional two regular-season titles and the 2018 A-10 Tournament. The elder McKillop is a 10-time conference coach of the year and already has the court at Davidson named in his honor.
Though Bob McKillop’s impact on college basketball has been extensive since he took over in 1989 after a decade at Long Island Lutheran High School, he is best known by many for his role as Stephen Curry’s college coach. The 2022 NBA Finals MVP and eight-time All-Star played three seasons at Davidson, averaging 25.3 points on 41.2% 3-point shooting during his tenure with the Wildcats.
During Curry’s sophomore season in 2007-08, Davidson reached the Elite Eight as a No. 10 seed, marking the program’s deepest ever NCAA Tournament run. But even after Curry’s departure for the NBA, the Wildcats remained a force in college basketball by making five Big Dance appearances in the years since.
Friday’s announcement from Davidson was advertised as a news conference regarding Curry. The school did reveal plans to celebrate Curry’s induction into its athletics hall of fame later this year, but then Bob McKillop revealed his plan to step down as he choked back tears.
“Did you see Steph after the game last night?” he said. “He was crying. Crying. Tears. I thought that was a message to me that it was OK to cry today. I read one time that tears are a gift from God. Tears show that your heart can be touched. I think you know how my heart has been touched by Davidson.”