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Naismith Women's College Coach of the Year Award Finalists Announced

Crowley, McGraw, Mulkey and VanDerveer Vie For Top Coaching Honor

ATLANTA (March 16, 2012) – Some things don’t change. Eleven years after Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw was named 2001 Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year and 22 years after Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer won her first coaching honor in 1990, both women are once again finalists for the 2012 Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year, the Atlanta Tipoff club announced today. They are joined by St. Bonaventure’s Jim Crowley and Baylor’s Kim Mulkey. This marks the 25th anniversary of the first Naismith Coach of the Year award, when Tennessee’s Pat Summitt won the first of her five.

The finalists were determined by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s National Voting Academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The academy based its criteria on coaching performances this season. The vote was tabulated and certified by the accounting firm of Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP.  HA&W is the largest independent accounting firm in Georgia and one of the top 50 firms in the United States.

The Naismith Award is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the women’s college basketball coach of the year. The winner will be announced in early April.

“It’s great to see both the old and new faces, and each of these coaches have made a compelling campaign for their coach of the year bid this year,” said Eric Oberman, Atlanta Tipoff Club executive director. “We wish all of our finalists luck in the tournament, and look forward to honoring a winner of this special anniversary.”

Jim Crowley
In his 16th year on the bench and 12th year as head coach for St. Bonaventure, Crowley led the Bonnies to a 29-3 overall record with a perfect 14-0 record in the Atlantic 10 conference, winning the regular season title.  He was named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in guiding St. Bonaventure to its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance.  The Bonnies are a No. 5 seed in the Raleigh Region of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament and will take on Fla. Gulf Coast Sunday.

Muffet McGraw
In her 25th year at the Notre Dame women’s basketball head coach, the Hall of Fame coach led the Irish to a 30-3 overall record, a 15-1 conference record and a Big East regular season championship, the team’s first outright regular-season BIG EAST title. Additionally, she guided the Irish to its second consecutive 30-win season and fourth in the past 15 years. Notre Dame was awarded with a No. 1 seed in the Raleigh Region, and will take on Liberty Sunday in the first round.

Kim Mulkey
During her 12th season as Baylor’s head basketball coach, Mulkey has guided the team to an undefeated record (34-0) and the Lady Bears have been the nation’s top-ranked team the entire season. Baylor captured both the 2012 Big 12 Conference regular season and tournament crowns and Mulkey was selected as the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year.  For the first time in program history, Baylor received the No. 1 overall seed and will face UC Santa Barbara in first-round action in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Tara VanDerveer
A two-time Naismith College Coach of the Year (1990, 2011), VanDerveer guided the Cardinal to the program's 21st Pac-12 regular season title, and 12th in a row.  Stanford finished 31-1 overall and a perfect 18-0 in Pac-12 play for the third straight year and seventh time overall.  On Feb. 25 she became just the seventh Division I head coach to win 700 games at one school.  Stanford is the top seed in the Fresno region and will play Hampton Saturday in the first round. 

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The Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club, founded during the 1956-57 season, has presented the Naismith Trophy every year since UCLA’s Lew Alcindor first won the award in 1969.  Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Naismith Trophy in 1983.

The Naismith Award has become the most prestigious award in all of college basketball, recognizing the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year, Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coach of the Year, as well as awards for outstanding achievement in high school basketball, officiating, and contribution to the game.


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Eric Oberman

Atlanta Tipoff Club
(404) 586-8506

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