ST. LOUIS (AP) — First-year Drake coach Darian DeVries has been named the Missouri Valley Conference coach of the year.

The league announced on Thursday that DeVries beat out Dana Ford of Missouri State and Porter Moser of Loyola (Chicago) for the honor.

DeVries led Drake to a share of just its second league title since 1971 in the regular season despite being picked to finish ninth. DeVries also leads the nation among first-year coaches with 23 wins.

Drake opens Valley tournament play on Friday night against either Evansville or Illinois State.