Ten Conferences Represented Among Candidates Vying for Top Honor

ATLANTA (Feb. 17, 2023) – Today, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the 15 members of the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year late season watch list. For seven of this year’s candidates, this isn’t the first time they’ve vied for the award. Chris Collins (Northwestern), Mick Cronin (UCLA), Sean Miller (Xavier), Nate Oats (Alabama), Matt Painter (Purdue), Kelvin Sampson (Houston) and Shaka Smart (Marquette) are all previous candidates, with Sampson and Smart making the late-season list just last year. 

Candidates not included can still make their way on to the 10 semifinalists list, which will be announced on Thursday, March 9.  The Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year award will be narrowed to four finalists on Monday, March 20. The final round includes an opportunity for consumers to participate through the Naismith Awards Fan Vote presented by Jersey Mike’s, which accounts for 5% of the total vote and runs from March 21-28.   The winner will be announced on Sunday, April 2, at the Naismith Awards Brunch presented by Frost Bank at the Final Four in Houston.

“Each year we are amazed by the remarkable coaching performances that elevate these contenders as candidates for the Werner Ladder Naismith College Men’s Coach of the Year,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “The end of the regular season, with tremendous pressure on each game, usually separates those seeking to advance in the next step in our voting.”

“Werner Ladder is honored to be a part of highlighting and recognizing these coaches for an incredible season and their outstanding leadership on and off the court,” said Stacy Gardella, head of Global Marketing Technology & Operations at WernerCo. “Each of these coaches is deserving in their own right, and we are excited to follow them throughout the rest of the season.”

Randy BennettWCCSaint Mary's
Jeff CapelACCPittsburgh
Chris CollinsBig TenNorthwestern
Mick CroninPac-12UCLA
Dennis GatesSECMissouri
Pat KelseyCAACollege of Charleston
Dusty MayC-USAFlorida Atlantic
Sean MillerBig EASTXavier
Nate OatsSECAlabama
T.J. OtzelbergerBig 12Iowa State
Matt PainterBig TenPurdue
Kelvin SampsonAACHouston
Shaka SmartBig EASTMarquette
Jerome TangBig 12Kansas State
Rodney TerryBig 12Texas


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 www.wernerladder.com.


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