Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin has been selected as one of 20 finalists for the 2013 Ben Jobe Award, CollegeInsider.com announced Monday. The award is presented annually to the top minority coach in Division I men’s basketball.
Martin is quite familiar with the Ben Jobe Award, having won it in 2011 after leading Missouri State to its first-ever regular-season Missouri Valley Conference championship. That team posted a 26-9 overall record, and its 15-3 mark in MVC games set a school record for conference wins in a season. Martin was hired at Tennessee shortly after the conclusion of that record-breaking 2010-11 campaign.
Joining Martin on the list of finalists for this season’s award are Tommy Amaker (Harvard), Mike Anderson (Arkansas), Kevin Baggett (Rider), Roman Banks (Southern), Jamion Christian (Mount St.
Mary's), Mike Davis (Texas Southern), Anthony Evans (Norfolk State), Anthony Grant (Alabama), James Green (Jacksonville State), Frank Haith (Missouri), Joe Jones (Boston University), Bashir Mason (Wagner), Ray McCallum (Detroit), Marvin Menzies (New Mexico State), Howard Moore (Illinois-Chicago), LeVelle Moton (North Carolina Central), Kevin Ollie (Connecticut), Shaka Smart (VCU) and John Thompson III (Georgetown).
“Selecting a winner from this group will be difficult,” CollegeInsider.com co-founder Angela Lento said. “So many coaches did exceptional things this season. Any of the 20 finalists would be deserving.”
In his second year at Tennessee, Martin led a UT team that was without the services of its MVP from a season ago – All-SEC forward Jeronne Maymon – but persevered to post an 11-7 record in SEC play and win eight of its last nine games to close out the regular season.
The Vols improved their scoring offense in SEC play by more than four points from last season. In SEC games, Tennessee and league champion Florida were the only teams who finished in the top six in both scoring offense (5th, 58.4 ppg) and scoring defense (6th, 66.7 ppg).
And the Big Orange were the only team in the SEC to finish in the top four in the league in field-goal percentage (4th, .438), 3-point percentage (4th, .349) and free-throw percentage (3rd, .710) in conference play.
Jobe is an icon in the history of basketball at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He is best known as the head coach of the Southern University, a position he held for 12 seasons. He also held head coaching stints at Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Talladega, Tuskegee and South Carolina State.
Jobe’s record at Southern was 209-141 and included four NCAA Tournament appearances. He also coached the Jaguars to one NIT appearance, five SIAC championships, 11 SWAC titles and two NAIA Tournament Championships. One of Jobe’s most memorable coaching moments was Southern’s 93-78 win over Georgia Tech in the first round of the 1993 NCAA Tournament. It stands as one of the great upsets in the history of the event.
The 2013 Ben Jobe Award recipient will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com awards banquet in Atlanta, site of this year’s Final Four.
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