Drew, Dutcher, Grant and Hamilton Look to Win Top Coaching Honor
ATLANTA (March 18, 2020) – Today, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the finalists for the 2020 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year Award, featuring four potential first-time winners. The finalists include Scott Drew (Baylor), Brian Dutcher (San Diego State), Anthony Grant (Dayton) and Leonard Hamilton (Florida State).
Drew would become the first Baylor men’s coach to win the award, joining Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey, who won the women’s honor in 2012. Only five schools—Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Stanford and Tennessee—have winners of both the men’s and women’s Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year honors. Drew also seeks to become the fourth Big 12 coach to claim the award, following three coaches from Kansas (Bill Self, 2012; Roy Williams, 1997; and Larry Brown, 1988).
While a win in 2020 would be the first for Dutcher, he would be the second winner from the Mountain West Conference and the second from San Diego State, joining Steve Fisher (2011). Grant would join two Atlantic 10 winners—Saint Joseph’s Phil Martelli (2004) and Kentucky’s John Calipari when he coached at Massachusetts in 1996. Meanwhile, Hamilton would become the eighth men’s coach from the ACC to take home the Werner Ladder Naismith Award with the most recent winner being Virginia’s Tony Bennett in 2017.
“These coaches, who have brought out the best in their players, are worthy of the Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy Men’s Coach of the Year honor,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “They coached their teams to amazing regular season accomplishments and have exuded leadership on the court deserving of the top honor.”
Fans will be able to support their favorite finalist by visiting naismithfanvote.com between March 20-April 1 to cast their ballot, and the fan vote will account for five percent of the overall final vote. Then, on April 3, the 2020 Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy for Men’s College Coach of the Year is scheduled to be announced. The award ceremony will be held on a later date.
“Despite these trying times, we want to make sure we still honor a winner of the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year Award for their hard work and success this basketball season. Each of the four finalists has coached his team to an outstanding season and are all deserving of the Coach of the Year title,” said Stacy Gardella, vice president of brand marketing at WernerCo. “We look forward to honoring one of these coaches with their first Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year Award.”
About the finalists:
Scott Drew, Baylor
- Drew was named Big 12 Coach of the Year, a first by a Baylor men’s coach.
- Under his direction, the Bears set a program record with 15 conference wins, three more than any previous season.
- In his 17th season, Drew led Baylor to its fewest losses in a season since the Bears started playing a conference schedule in 1914 with an overall record of 26-4.
Brian Dutcher, San Diego State
- In his third season at the helm, Dutcher led his team to the best record in program history, finishing the season at 30-2.
- The Aztecs set a school and Mountain West Conference record in conference play with a 17-1 season.
- He coached his team to be the last undefeated team in the nation for more than a month and San Diego State University was the only Division I team to finish the regular season with a single loss.
Anthony Grant, Dayton
- Grant coached his alma mater to an undefeated conference season and a 29-2 record overall.
- Named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, he led his team to a program record of 29 wins in a season and ended the regular season on a 20-game win streak.
- The Flyers were the first team in the conference to go 18-0 in conference play in the past 35 years.
Leonard Hamilton, Florida State
- Hamilton was named ACC Coach of the Year for the third time in his career.
- Under his leadership, the Seminoles ended the regular season with a 16-4 conference record and went 26-5 overall, setting regular season program records for both.
- With this season’s wins, Hamilton became only the sixth coach in conference history with 350 career wins.
The four finalists were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners, all of whom base their selections on outstanding coaching performances during the 2019-20 regular college basketball season. The vote was tabulated and certified by Aprio, a premier CPA-led business advisory firm, headquartered in Atlanta.
For more information, visit www.naismithtrophy.com.
ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club 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 administers the Naismith Awards, the most prestigious national honors in all of college and high school basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the family of Naismith Awards annually recognizes the most outstanding men’s and women’s college and high school basketball players and coaches. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the men’s and women’s college basketball defensive players of the year, as well as lifetime achievement awards to basketball officials and outstanding contributors to the game. UCLA’s Lew Alcindor received the first Citizen Naismith Trophy in 1969, while the late Anne Donovan (Old Dominion) was the inaugural women’s recipient in 1983. Corporate partners of the Naismith Awards include Citizen Watch Company, Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.
ABOUT WERNER LADDER COMPANY
Werner, the official ladder of NCAA® March Madness® and the world leader in ladders offers a complete line of climbing products designed for working at heights. The portfolio includes ladders, attic ladders, scaffolding, pump jacks, stages, planks, stepstools, accessories and fall protection equipment including harnesses, lanyards, anchors and compliance kits. From ladders to fall protection, WERNER provides a full line of climbing equipment that’s engineered to give you maximum safety, durability and productivity at every height. All Werner products meet or exceed applicable international safety standards. For more information, visit www.wernerladder.com.
Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club