Only four coaches in NCAA history have won 700 games at their alma mater and one of them is from right here in East Tennessee.
Randy Lambert was born and raised in Maryville and is among the top ten scorers in Maryville College history. Friday night he earned his 700th win as the Scots head coach.
"I don't think anybody would have ever thought 38 years ago that this old man would win 700 games at Maryville College," Lambert said after his team beat Methodist 70-66 in the USA South semifinals.
"It means a lot. The first thing I thought of was my mother and father and how much I would have loved for them to be here to share this game with me because they invested so much in my life and really supported me through the years as a basketball coach and allowed me to chase my dream," Lambert said.
Maryville College rallied back from an 11-point second half deficit and Calvin Songster gave them the lead for good with a jumper from near the left baseline with 47 seconds left. The Scots hit all 15 of their free throws in the second half and swiped 13 steals to advance to Saturday's USA South Championship.
Lambert is 700-316 in 38 seasons at Maryville College and is only the eighth coach in Division III men's basketball to reach the 700-win plateau.
Only Herb Magee at Jefferson, Jim Boeheim at Syracuse and David Hixon at Amherst have won more games at their alma maters than Lambert.
"To have an opportunity to pursue your vocation and do it in your hometown and share it with family and friends, it just doesn't get any better than that," Lambert said.
The Scots take on Covenant at home on Saturday at 6 p.m. with the USA South Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth on the line.