ATLANTA (March 16, 2016) – The finalists for the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year include two candidates who have collectively won the award nine times and a two-time Naismith Player of the Year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. Geno Auriemma (University of Connecticut), Muffet McGraw (University of Notre Dame), Scott Rueck (Oregon State University) and Dawn Staley (University of South Carolina) make up the final ballot.

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, which based their selections on outstanding coaching performances during the 2015-16 college basketball 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 winner will be announced on Monday, April 4.

“The sport of basketball is incredibly fortunate to have such outstanding leaders, and their success was rewarded by being named a Naismith Award finalist,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “These coaches deserve this recognition – their contributions to their players and their programs are evident on and off the court.”

About the finalists:

Geno Auriemma

  • Named the American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for the third straight year, and 13 times overall dating back to the Huskies’ involvement with the Big East.
  • The Huskies are 32-0 this season and on a 69-game winning streak. They have won 116 of their past 117 games en route to three straight national championships.
  • He has been named Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year on six previous occasions (2009, 2008, 2002, 2000, 1997, 1995).
  • UConn is the top seed in the Bridgeport Region of the NCAA Tournament.

Muffet McGraw

  • Was named Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year for the second time in her career.
  • In her 29th season as head coach of the Irish, McGraw led Notre Dame to a 31-1 overall record and 16-0 in the conference.
  • The Irish swept the ACC regular-season and tournament championships for the third year in a row.
  • McGraw has won the Naismith three times, including twice in the past three seasons.
  • Notre Dame is the top seed in the Lexington Region of the NCAA Tournament – the fifth consecutive year and sixth time in program history it has earned a top seed.

Scott Rueck

  • Led the Beavers to back-to-back Pac-12 regular-season championships.
  • The team claimed its first Pac-12 Tournament title in school history.
  • Oregon State’s 28 wins is the best single-season total in program history.
  • With a current national ranking of 6 in both polls, Oregon State has achieved its highest ranking in school history.
  • The No. 2 seed (Dallas Regional) is the Beavers’ highest ever NCAA Tournament seed.

Dawn Staley

  • She helped the Gamecocks achieve just the second 16-0 mark in league play in SEC history (31-1 overall).
  • South Carolina tallied 13 victories over ranked opponents and totaled at least 30 wins for the secondstraight season.
  • The Gamecocks have won the SEC regular-season title in each of the past three years under Staley, who won the Naismith Trophy as the most outstanding women’s college basketball player in 1991 and 1992 while at the University of Virginia.
  • The team earned a No. 1 seed (Sioux Falls Region) in its 13th berth in the NCAA Tournament.

For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com.


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.

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Media Contact:

Traci Messier

Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club

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