ATLANTA (March 31, 2018) – Today, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced that Mississippi State University’s Vic Schaefer is the 2018 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year. Schaefer claimed the honor by edging out finalists Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut), Kelly Graves (University of Oregon) and Muffet McGraw (University of Notre Dame). Schaefer becomes the fourth SEC coach to take home the award, and the conference’s first since Louisiana State University’s Pokey Chatman in 2005. 

During the 2017-18 season, Schaefer guided Mississippi State to the program’s first SEC regular-season championship by notching the first undefeated regular season by a league team in 20 years. His Bulldogs posted a school-record of 32-straight wins, the second-most in SEC history, against eight ranked teams and 11 that were over RPI Top-50 teams. He took this year’s Bulldogs to a school-record No. 2 ranking and was named SEC Coach of the Year by fellow league coaches. The Bulldogs were the No. 1 seed in the Kansas City region in the NCAA Tournament, and Schaefer will continue his postseason coaching in the NCAA Tournament Championship on April 1. 

“Vic Schaefer has had an incredible coaching season as evidenced by the Bulldogs success, and their march to the championship game, and we are honored to welcome him to the Naismith Awards family,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “He’s a proven winner who deserves all the tremendous accolades afforded to him.” 

“Werner Co. is extremely proud to sponsor the Naismith Coach of the Year award and even more honored to present this year’s trophy to Vic Schaefer,” said Chris Filardi, vice president of marketing for Werner Co. “We have been aligned with collegiate basketball coaches for years, and would like to recognize his incredible contributions to the sport and to the impact he has had on the development of these young women.” 

“I am so humbled and honored to receive the Naismith Coach of the Year award. There’s so many great coaches across the country. To receive this prestigious honor is so humbling, and I am grateful to the voters across the country,” said Vic Schaefer, winner of the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year award. “I am also so thankful for my staff, Johnnie Harris, Carly Thibault-DuDonis and Dionnah Jackson-Durrett, and I share this award with them. They deserve every bit of this award because of their hard work, dedication and commitment to our program. I’m grateful to them for their investment into Mississippi State University and our program.” 

Schaefer was 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 based their selections on the outstanding coaching performances during the 2017-18 college basketball season. Fans also had a hand in selecting the winner through the fan vote, which accounted for 5 percent of the final tally. 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. 

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Celebrating 50 Years of the Citizen Naismith Trophy 

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 have become 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 of the Year. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coaches of the Year, Boys’ and Girls’ High School Basketball Players and Coaches of the Year, Basketball Officials and Outstanding Contributors to the game. Celebrating its 50th year by honoring past winners, the Citizen 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 Citizen Naismith Trophy in 1983. 


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Media Contact:
Traci Messier
Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club