Saint Mary’s Graduate McCollum Named New Drake Men’s Basketball Coach

Ben McCollum, architect to the most successful men’s college basketball dynasty of the last decade, was named men’s basketball head coach at Drake University, Athletics Director Brian Hardin announced on Monday, April 1.
A native of Storm Lake, Iowa, McCollum arrives in Des Moines after spending the past 15 seasons as the head coach at NCAA Division II power Northwest Missouri State University. While in Maryville, he won four national championships (2017, 2019, 2021, 2022) including three tournaments in a row (2020 NCAA Tournament was canceled due to global pandemic).
“I am honored to be a part of the Drake basketball family,” McCollum said. “We have seen the transition Drake basketball has made over the past few seasons to become one of the most successful mid-majors in that span. My family and I are very excited to continue that tradition with the support of the great Des Moines community. I would also like to thank President Martin and Athletics Director Brian Hardin for allowing me the opportunity to continue the success at Drake.”
McCollum amassed a record of 394-91 (81.2 win percentage) at Northwest Missouri State and earned five NABC Division II National Coach of the Year awards, the most for a single coach in Division II history. McCollum also garnered nine Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Coach of the Year awards and was a 2024 Missouri Sports Hall of Fame inductee.
McCollum’s individual accolades were a direct result of the high-level players he recruited and instructed. His Bearcat squads captured a dozen MIAA regular season titles, eight MIAA tournament crowns, and over the past eight seasons has averaged more than 31 wins per year and compiled a record of 253-21 (92.3 win percentage) since 2016.
“We are thrilled to add Ben and his family to Drake and the Des Moines community,” Hardin said. “Ben understands what it takes to achieve sustained excellence. While his incomparable record of success in competition stands out, in talking with people who know Ben, the positive impact he has on the lives of his student-athletes has left a more indelible mark. We welcome Ben to Des Moines’ Hometown Team and cannot wait for what we will accomplish together.”
During McCollum’s tenure, the Bearcats’ single season win totals were staggering. He led the team to at least 21 wins in each of the last 13 seasons. Five of those years included 30+ wins highlighted by an undefeated 38-0 campaign in 2018-19. That season marked just the fifth instance in Division II history that a team ran the table through the regular and postseasons.
Individual players flourished under Coach McCollum. He guided dozens of players to All-MIAA status and a handful of others to more specialized recognition. Those individual honors were highlighted by two National Players of the Year, six NABC All-Americans, six MIAA Players of the Year, three MIAA Defensive Players of the Year, and five MIAA All-Freshman selections.
“It is my great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to Coach McCollum and his family on behalf of the Drake community,” Drake University President Marty Martin said. “Coach McCollum’s phenomenal success has been grounded in building and sustaining a culture of excellence for his student athletes and his program, and we are all excited for what that means for the future for our men’s basketball team.”
McCollum’s storied coaching career began as a graduate assistant at Northwest, his alma mater, from 2003-05. He experienced his first full-time position at Emporia State for four seasons (2005-09) before returning to Maryville and taking over as the Bearcats’ head coach.
As a player, McCollum helped lead Northwest Missouri State to a 51-12 record and the program’s first-ever Elite Eight appearance in 2001-02 following a 29-3 season. That was also the first time the Bearcats ever swept both regular season and tournament titles, an accomplishment he replicated years later as head coach. McCollum’s playing career began at North Iowa Area Community College where he was a two-time All-Region athlete.
Born in Iowa City, McCollum was raised in Storm Lake, Iowa, and graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1999. He and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two sons, Peyton and Tate, and a daughter Grace Ann.
Drake will host an introductory press conference marking McCollum’s official welcome to Des Moines on Tuesday, Apr. 9 at 10 a.m. in the Schickler Club (formerly known as Courtside Club) in the Knapp Center.


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