Fans Once Again Have an Opportunity to Participate in Final Round Voting

ATLANTA (March 20, 2023) – The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today the finalists for the 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year award. On the women’s side, South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley aims to win her third Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year Award in four seasons. She is joined by three potential first-time winners in Kenny Brooks (Virginia Tech), Teri Moren (Indiana) and Lynne Roberts (Utah).  Staley, who won consecutive Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy awards as college player of the year at Virginia in 1991 and 1992, remains the only individual to have claimed both a Naismith player of the year and coach of the year honor.   

On the men’s side, Marquette’s Shaka Smart hopes to become the school’s first Naismith Coach of the Year and first Naismith Award winner for the Golden Eagles since Butch Lee (1977 Player of the Year). Smart would become the second-straight winner from the BIG EAST Conference after Providence’s Ed Cooley took the honor in 2022.  Purdue’s Matt Painter seeks to join Carolyn Peck (1999 Coach of the Year) and Glenn Robinson (1994 Player of the Year) as the only other Boilermaker winners.  The other two finalists are Kelvin Sampson (Houston) and Jerome Tang (Kansas State).

About the 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year finalists:

Kenny Brooks, Virginia Tech

  • Guided Virginia Tech to a 27-4 record entering the NCAA Tournament, only losing one game at home all season
  • Finished No. 4 in the final AP rankings prior to the NCAA Tournament
  • Led the Hokies to their first-ever ACC Championship
  • Earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history

Teri Moren, Indiana

  • Led Indiana to its first Big Ten regular season championship since 1983
  • Guided the Hoosiers to a 26-2 record in the regular season
  • Led the Hoosiers to a No. 3 ranking in the AP Top 25
  • Named the 2023 Big Ten Coach of the Year

Lynne Roberts, Utah

  • Led Utah to a share of the Pac-12 regular season title, the first in program history
  • The Utes entered the tournament with a 25-4 record and went undefeated at home in the regular season
  • Guided Utah to 25 wins in its first 28 games for the first time since 2007-08
  • Named the 2023 Pac-12 Coach of the Year

Dawn Staley, South Carolina

  • Led the Gamecocks to an undefeated season entering the NCAA Tournament
  • Named SEC Coach of the Year for the sixth time in her career, also her second consecutive time winning the award
  • Guided South Carolina to both the 2023 SEC regular season and tournament title, where they defeated No. 3 Tennessee in the final 74-58
  • The Gamecocks were named the No. 1 overall seed in the Women’s NCAA Tournament

About the 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year finalists:

Matt Painter, Purdue

  • Led the Boilermakers to a 29-7 overall record this season and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 27 years 
  • Guided Purdue to the school’s 25th regular-season Big Ten Championship and second-ever Big Ten Tournament title
  • Starting the season unranked, the Boilermakers went from outside the Top 25 to ranked No. 1 in just 34 days in November, the quickest ascent to No. 1 in AP Poll history. They were ranked No. 1 in the country for a nation’s-best seven weeks during the year
  • The Boilermakers have achieved their most success away from Mackey Arena, posting a 15-3 record in road and neutral site games
  • Named the Associated Press’ Co-Coach of the Year in the Big Ten Conference

Kelvin Sampson, Houston

  • Sampson has had Houston ranked in the top five of the Associated Press Top 25 poll all season
  • Was named the AAC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season and the fourth time in the last six years
  • Led UH to a nation-best 33-3 record to tie the school record for single-season wins as well as tying for the best single-season record in league play at 17-1 and winning the conference by four games over Memphis
  • He recorded his 700th career win in UH’s season-opener against Northern Colorado
  • Led the Cougars to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in the Midwest Region and the NCAA Sweet 16 as of March 20

Shaka Smart, Marquette

  • Led the Golden Eagles to their first-ever outright BIG EAST title and fourth title all-time
  • Marquette’s tourney title was its second in school history and first in the BIG EAST since joining the league in 2005-06
  • Smart earned BIG EAST Coach of the Year, the first Marquette coach to claim the accolade and first conference honor in 14 seasons as head coach
  • Marquette finished 17-3 in BIG EAST play, tying Syracuse (2011-12) for most regular season wins in league history
  • MU’s 29 wins this season were the highest single-season total in program history

Jerome Tang, Kansas State

  • Tang has led K-State to a 26-9 record in 2022-23 (as of March 20), one the program’s best in the last 50 seasons
  • Guided the Wildcats to a third-place finish in the conference standings after starting the year picked to finish last in the Big 12 Preseason Poll
  • Just the fifth head coach to win 20 games in his first season
  • Became the seventh head coach in school history and only the third in the Big 12 era to earn conference Coach of the Year honors
  • Led K-State to a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament’s East Region, the second highest in school history since seeding began in 1979 and the highest since being a No. 2 seed in 2010

“As this fantastic college basketball season comes down to the wire, we are honored to have witnessed the dedication and hard work of these coaches as they have guided their teams toward a national championship,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “The Werner Ladder Naismith Award for Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year has been fiercely contested thus far, and we commend these coaches for the outstanding performances of their programs.”

“Werner Ladder is proud to congratulate the wonderful achievements of these incredible coaches and their teams,” said Stacy Gardella, head of Global Marketing Technology & Operations at WernerCo. “We extend our best wishes for success throughout the tournaments and celebrate them for their inspirational leadership.”

Fans will once again be able to support their favorite finalist through the Naismith Awards Fan Vote presented by Jersey Mike’s, which runs Tuesday, March 21, through Tuesday, March 28, at The fan vote will account for five percent of the overall final vote. Fans may also vote by visiting the @MarchMadness and @MarchMadnessWBB Twitter pages to vote for their favorite men’s and women’s coach.

The 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy for Women’s Coach of the Year will be awarded on Wednesday, March 29, at a press conference at Reunion Tower in Dallas during the Women’s Final Four. The 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy for Men’s College Coach of the Year announcement will take place on Sunday, April 2, at the Naismith Awards Brunch presented by Frost Bank during the Final Four in Houston.  The event will be held at the Ballroom at Bayou Place.

The four finalists for each category 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 2022-23 college basketball season. The vote was tabulated and verified by the Atlanta team of J.S. Held, a global consulting 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 Jersey Mike’s 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 Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.


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


Media Contact:

Traci Messier
Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club
[email protected]