Two Former Winners and Two First-Time Finalists Vie for the 2019 Honor

ATLANTA (March 21, 2019) – The 2019 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award finalists were announced today by the Atlanta Tipoff Club and include Lisa Bluder (Iowa), Wes Moore (N.C. State), Kim Mulkey (Baylor) and Vic Schaefer (Mississippi State). All four finalists are set to tip off in the NCAA Tournament this weekend.

Winner of the 2018 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year, Schaefer seeks to become the third coach to win the award in consecutive seasons, joining Geno Auriemma (UConn, 2008-09; 2016-17) and Muffet McGraw (Notre Dame, 2013-14). Seeking her second win since 2012, Mulkey is the only coach from Baylor to hold the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year honor, and she is the only coach to take home the women’s award from the Big 12. Moore, in search of his first Naismith Award win, would become only the second winner from N.C. State for any collegiate Naismith Award, joining David Thompson, who won the Citizen Naismith Trophy for Men’s Player of the Year in 1975. The fourth finalist, Bluder, would also be a first-time winner and would join one other coach from the Hawkeyes, C. Vivian Stringer, who claimed the Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year Award in 1993.

“We look forward to watching these coaches lead their teams under tournament pressure,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Each of the coaches has shown the leadership and dedication worthy of winning the 2019 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year.”

Beginning March 22, 2019, fans will be able to support their favorite finalist by visiting until April 3, to cast their ballot. The fan vote will account for five percent of the overall final vote. The 2019 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year will be announced on April 6, and the winner will be honored at their school at a later date.

“Each of these coaches has what it takes to win the Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year honor,” said Stacy Gardella, vice president of brand marketing at WernerCo. “We look forward to watching these coaches inspire their teams throughout the tournament.”

About the finalists:

Lisa Bluder, Iowa

  • Bluder led her team to the program’s first Big Ten Tournament title since 2001.
  • Her Hawkeyes have a record of 26-6.
  • With 35 years total of coaching experience, she has led the Hawkeyes to 18 postseason appearances in her 19 years coaching at Iowa.
  • Bluder’s Hawkeyes are the No. 2 seed in the Greensboro Region of the NCAA Tournament.

 Wes Moore, N.C. State

  • Moore guided his team to be the only remaining undefeated team in women’s or men’s basketball until the team’s faceoff with North Carolina on Feb. 3, breaking a streak of 21 consecutive wins.
  • He is the first coach in history to advance three different teams to the NCAA Tournament at the Division I, II and III levels.
  • His team has a record of 26-5 and 12-4 in the conference.
  • Moore’s Wolfpack are the No. 3 seed in NCAA Tournament’s Greensboro Region.

Kim Mulkey, Baylor

  • In her 19th year as head coach, Mulkey led her team to its 10th regular season and 10th Big 12 Tournament championship title.
  • Her Bears hold a record 31-1 this season.
  • Earning the No. 1 ranking in the final Associated Press (AP)Top 25 poll, her team has won 23 straight games, currently the longest winning streak in the country.
  • The Bears are seeded No. 1 in the Greensboro Region of the NCAA Tournament.

Vic Schaefer, Mississippi State University

  • This season, Schaefer guided Mississippi State to the program’s first Southeastern Conference (SEC) Tournament championship and its second regular-season SEC title.
  • His Bulldogs have a 30-2 record with 15-1 conference standing and have been in the AP Top 25 for 94 straight weeks.
  • Schaefer was honored with the SEC Coach of the Year, becoming just the sixth coach to have earned the SEC honor three times.
  • The Bulldogs are the No. 1 seed in the Portland Region in the NCAA Tournament.

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 2018-19 college basketball season. The vote was tabulated and certified by Aprio, a premier, CPA-led business advisory firm.

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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 Bona, Citizen Watch Company, Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.


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Media Contact:

Traci Messier

Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club

[email protected]