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 ATLANTA (March 17, 2016) – Kansas’s Bill Self and Villanova’s Jay Wright, previous winners of the Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year award, are among four finalists seeking the sport’s top honor, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today.  They are joined by Tom Crean (Indiana University) and Chris Mack (Xavier University).  The winner will be announced on Sunday, April 3 at the Naismith Awards Brunch delivered by UPS at the NCAA Men’s Final Four in Houston.

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. The committee based its 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.

“In a season where unpredictability has been the norm, it’s amazing what these four coaches have been able to accomplish,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club.  “We salute their teams’ amazing accomplishments and wish them well heading into the tournament.  Our voters had a challenge getting down to four finalists, and it’s going to be even harder selecting the winner.”

About the finalists:

 Tom Crean

  • He led Indiana to a 25-6 record, including 15-3 in conference play, recording a Big Ten record-tying 22nd league title.
  • The team’s 15 conference wins is the most since the 1992-93 team went 17-1 in the league.
  • He was named the consensus 2016 Big Ten Coach of the Year.
  • The Hoosiers rank third in the country in field goal percentage (50.2), fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (41.9), seventh in scoring margin (+13.9), ninth in 3-point field goals made per game (10.1) and 11th in scoring offense (82.7).
  • Indiana also led the Big Ten in scoring, field goal percentage, three-point field goals made and offensive rebound percentage (37.3).
  • Indiana opens tournament play as a No. 5 seed in the East Region.

Chris Mack

  • The Musketeers started the season unranked in the AP Preseason Poll and then climbed into the AP Top 25 for 17 straight weeks, 14 of which were spent in the top 10.
  • They went 6-1 vs. the AP Top 25, including 3-0 vs. the AP Top 10.
  • Xavier was selected fourth in the Big East preseason poll, but finished second in the league (14-4).
  • The Musketeers lead the Big East and rank high in the nation in scoring (18th at 81.3 ppg.), rebound margin (20th at +7.5 rpg.) and assists (27th at 16.4 apg).
  • The squad’s 26 wins tied the school record for most in a regular season.
  • The Musketeers achieved a school-record seeding at No. 2 in 2016 NCAA Tournament.

 Bill Self

  • Under Self, No. 1 Kansas (30-4, 15-3) won its 12th-straight, 16th Big 12 and NCAA-leading 59th overall regular season title in 2015-16. Kansas also won the Big 12 Postseason Championship and the 2015 Maui Invitational in 2015-16.
  • Kansas is No. 1 in both Associated Press and USA Today Coaches’ polls and has been ranked No. 1 five times by AP and four times by the coaches in 2015-16. Kansas has ranked seventh or higher in every poll this season.
  • The Jayhawks posted two winning streaks of 13 games or more in 2015-16: 13 from Nov. 23-Jan. 9, and 14 from Jan. 30-present.
  • Kansas is 11-3 against nationally-ranked teams in 2015-16, including 4-0 versus top-10 teams. The 11 wins are the most in a season in Jayhawks history.
  • Kansas holds the No. 1 RPI and No. 5 toughest schedule, while the Big 12 has the No. 1 RPI among all conferences in 2015-16.

Jay Wright

  • Villanova is 29-5 entering NCAA Tournament play, its third straight season of 25 or more victories.
  • There have been 12 seasons of 25 or more victories since Villanova Basketball began in 1920. Six have occurred since 2006 when Wright took over.
  • The Wildcats finished with a 16-2 record for the third straight season to win their third consecutive Big East regular season title.
  • Wright was named Co-Big East Coach of the Year. It is the fifth time he was named Big East Coach of the Year since 2006 and he is also the first to win the honor in three straight seasons (2014-16).
  • Villanova ascended to the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches poll on Feb. 8 for the first time in the regular season in the history of the program. They remained atop the polls for three weeks.

Indiana’s Bob Knight won the inaugural award in 1987.  Other notables include a pair of 3-time winners in Mike Krzyzewski (1989, 1992, 1999; Duke University) and John Calipari (1996; UMass, 2008; Memphis, 2015; Kentucky), as well as Hall of Famer Dean Smith (1993; University of North Carolina).

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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, 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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