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Wright Tapped as Finalist For Naismith National Coach of the Year
Jay Wright
Jay Wright
March 15, 2018

ATLANTA (March 15) - The Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year finalists, announced today by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, feature two coaches whose names are already engraved on the trophy, and two others hoping to join elite company.

The final ballot includes Rick Barnes (University of Tennessee), Tony Bennett (University of Virginia), Chris Holtmann (Ohio State University) and Jay Wright (Villanova University).

In the history of the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year award, only three coaches have won the title multiple times –John Calipari (University of Massachusetts, University of Memphis and University of Kentucky) and Mike Krzyzweski (Duke University) have each won three. Wright has claimed a pair, winning most recently in 2016, and aims to become a three-peat winner.

With his first Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year in 2007 at Washington State University, Bennett looks to join Calipari, Krzyzweski and Wrightas the fourth coach to win the title multiple times and would be only the second coach to win at two different schools, following Calipari.

A win for Bennett would further extend the ACC’s lead of having the most wins of any conference with seven.

Barnes and Holtmann hope to claim their first Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year honor this season. If Barnes takes home the award, he would propel the SEC into a tie with the BIG EAST with the second most wins (five) of all time.

Holtmann would join Randy Ayers (1991)as the Ohio State University’s honorees and make Holtmann the first Big Ten winner since Bruce Weber at University of Illinois in 2005.

“These coaches have greatly impacted the sport of basketball on the court and have led their teams to remarkable seasons as we start the tournament,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “There were so many talented candidates, so seeing these four make it to the final stage underscores the remarkable seasons they’ve enjoyed. And it will be that much harder to single out the winner.”



“We are proud to be associated with the Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year award again this year,” said Chris Filardi, vice president of marketing at Werner Co. “It has been a great season of basketball, and all of these coaches deserve recognition for their accomplishments.”

Fans will have a chance to vote for their favorite coach beginning March 19 and running through 6 p.m. EDT on March 30. By visiting, fans can cast their ballot for the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year honor. The fan component makes up five percent of the overall vote.

The winner of the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year will be announced on Sunday, April 1, 2018, at the Naismith Awards Brunch during the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas. The entire awards presentation, held at Pearl Stable, will be broadcast live at and also simulcast on Sirius XM ESPNU Radio, Channel 84.