UConn Coaching Great Claims Eighth Such Honor
ATLANTA (April 1, 2017) – UConn head coach Geno Auriemma has been named winner of the 2017 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today.
Auriemma, who now has eight Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year honors in the 31-year history of the award, edged out Karen Aston (University of Texas), Scott Rueck (Oregon State University) and Vic Schaefer (Mississippi State University).
Auriemma was selected 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, who based their selections on outstanding on-court performances during the 2016-17 college basketball season, and by fans, who were eligible to vote at www.naismithtrophy.com/vote from March 20-31. The vote was tabulated and certified by Aprio, formerly Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, the largest full-service, independent CPA-led business advisory firm, based in Atlanta.
“I really feel like this is one of those years where our coaching staff had a tremendous challenge going into the season with a lot of questions marks and a lot of uncertainty as to how we were going to play and how we were going to try and live up to the expectations that we have always had here,” Auriemma said. “Maybe more than any time in recent years, we really earned it. So it’s an honor to get this award. The Naismith Trophy means a lot to the game of basketball and our staff is proud to represent it for the 2017 season.”
“This UConn team was talented yet inexperienced to start the season and Geno was masterful in getting them to become a cohesive group, and one that achieved tremendous success,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “He has displayed many different examples of coaching success over the years and this ranks right near the top, which is impressive given his track record. It’s an honor to once again recognize him as the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year.”
“The reason Werner has decided to sponsor the Naismith Coach of the Year Award is because of the extraordinary achievements of coaches like Geno Auriemma,” said Chris Filardi, vice president of marketing for Werner Co. “We have been aligned with collegiate basketball coaches for years and wanted to have the ability to personally recognize their contributions to the sport and impact they make on the lives of these young women.”
Auriemma will be honored on the UConn campus later this month, and will be presented with a new custom commemorative trophy designed by nationally acclaimed sculptor Brian Hanlon. The bronze trophy features Dr. James Naismith, inventor of basketball, holding the original peach basket and ball used to play the first game.
During the season, Auriemma led UConn to its fourth straight American Athletic Conference Tournament championship, as well as its fourth consecutive AAC regular-season crown. The Huskies finished the season at 36-1. This marks the ninth time in his career that Auriemma completed the regular-season without a loss. He was named American Athletic Conference Co-Coach of the Year. Auriemma previously won the Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year in 2016, 2009, 2008, 2002, 2000, 1997 and 1995.
The inaugural Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year award went to Pat Summitt (University of Tennessee) in 1987; she went on to win four more (2004, 1998, 1994, 1989).
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, which are the most prestigious national honors in all of college basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the Naismith Trophy recognizes the top Men’s and Women’s college basketball players, coaches, administrators and officials. The Naismith Trophy was first presented to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Naismith Trophy in 1983. The Werner Ladder Naismith College Coach of the Year was first presented in 1987 to Pat Summitt (University of Tennessee) and Bob Knight (Indiana University).
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Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club