Longtime Amherst College men's basketball coach David Hixon announced his retirement on Monday after 42 years and more than 800 wins.
Hixon graduated from Amherst in 1975 and took over the basketball program in 1977. Over the next 42 years, Hixon won 826 games and had a .738 winning percentage. He won two D-III national championships in 2007 and 2013, reached seven Final Fours and was a two-time NABC National Coach of the Year. Amherst made 20 NCAA tournament appearances and won eight NESCAC titles under Hixon.
Only the third D-III coach to reach 800 wins, Hixon molded Amherst into one of the most consistent and successful programs in the country during the latter half of his tenure. Since 2000-01, Amherst won at least 20 games in all but three seasons and lost five or fewer games 11 times. The last time the program posted a losing season was 1990-91.
Through the end of the 2019-20 season, Hixon ranked 20th all-time among college basketball coaches in all divisions in total wins and 20th in career winning percentage.
"Dave has done so much for Amherst during his time here as a student, coach, teacher, recruiter, mentor, administrator, adviser and admired colleague and friend," athletic director Donald Faulstick said in a statement. "But in addition to his many accomplishments, what stands out to me is the love and admiration current and past student-athletes have for Dave and the impact he's made in those people's lives."
Hixon took a leave of absence from the Division III program last September, prior to the 2019-20 season.
"I'm extremely blessed to have the opportunity to take a sabbatical year at this point in my career," Hixon said at the time. "The opportunity to see various NBA teams (with all of the Amherst connections we now have), a few D-1 programs as well as having time to take care of some important personal matters. To help limit speculation, I would like to say my health is great and that this is not retirement but a season-long sabbatical leave. I am further blessed to have an assistant like Aaron Toomey who is both ready and capable to coach this team to its potential."
Hixon was replaced last season on an interim basis by Toomey, who was an assistant under Hixon for five seasons after playing at Amherst from 2010-14. Toomey finished his playing career as the program's all-time leading scorer. The Mammoths went 18-8 under Toomey in 2019-20.