Pat Summitt of Tennessee and Geno Auriemma of Connecticut, who between them have collected nine awards, have been named finalists for the 2008 Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year honor, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. They are joined by Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer, who won the Naismith Award in 1993 at Iowa, and LSU’s Van Chancellor, 3-time WNBA Coach of the Year.
The Naismith Award is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the men’s and women’s college basketball coaches of the year. The winner will be announced during the 2008 NCAA Women’s Final 4 in Tampa, Fla.
Finalists were chosen through a vote by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, who narrowed the mid-season list of 25 candidates down to the final four. The Board, which is comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, based its criteria on coaching performances this season.
“When you look at the credentials of this group, the award could easily be for lifetime achievement,” said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. “To achieve such a high level of success is impressive, but to sustain it decade after decade is quite incredible.”
ABOUT THE FINALISTS--
Geno Auriemma: In his 23rd season at the helm, Auriemma has guided the top-ranked Huskies to a 15-1 BIG EAST record (29-1 overall), and a second consecutive regular season conference championship (16th in program history) – a feat most impressive after losing two starters for the majority of the season with injuries. He also became the 14th coach all-time to earn 650 victories. Along with five national championships (1995, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004) on his resume, Auriemma also has won the prestigious Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year award four times (1995, 1997, 2000 and 2002).
Van Chancellor: After a celebrated decade with the WNBA’s Houston Comets, Chancellor made his return to the college game a successful one, leading the Lady Tigers to a 25-4 regular season record and a Southeastern Conference championship. The 14-0 league record marked the second time in four years LSU has gone undefeated in conference play. Chancellor now owns a 464-158 career record on the collegiate level, having previously coached at Mississippi from 1978-1997.
C. Vivian Stringer: In a season where Rutgers finished the regular season at 24-5 (14-2 in the BIG EAST), Stringer became just the third coach (Pat Summitt and Jody Conradt) in women’s basketball history to reach the 800-win club, picking up the milestone in RU’s 60-46 win over DePaul on Feb. 27. Stringer is the first coach, men’s or women’s, to lead three different programs to the NCAA Tournament Final Four (Cheyney in 1982, Iowa in 1993 and Rutgers in 2000).
Pat Summitt: In her 34th season as Lady Vols head coach, Summitt’s squad went 27-2, including 13-1 in the SEC, during the regular season. For her career, Summitt owns a 974-182 record – more than any other Division I coach. She also has seven NCAA titles and 17 NCAA Final Four appearances on her resume. She won the inaugural Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year award in 1987 then went on to claim four more honors (1989, 1994, 1998 and 2004) – the most among all women’s college coaches.
For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com.
Story Courtesy: UT Lady Vol Sports Information