Eight Coaches in Search of their First Naismith Coach of the Year Win

 ATLANTA (March 6, 2020) – Ten college basketball coaches across eight different conferences are in the running for the 2020 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year Award as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club today. Eight of the contenders are seeking their first such honor, including Patrick Chambers (Penn State), Scott Drew (Baylor), Brian Dutcher (San Diego State), Anthony Grant (Dayton), Leonard Hamilton (Florida State), Greg McDermott (Creighton), Bruce Pearl (Auburn) and Mark Pope (BYU).

The other two candidates are former Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year award winners with Kentucky’s John Calipari having won the award a total of three times while coaching for three different schools. Calipari would make history with what could be his fourth honor, following wins in 1996 at Massachusetts, in 2008 at Memphis and in 2015 at Kentucky. A second win for Calipari at Kentucky would mark the school’s third win overall with their first being Tubby Smith in 2003. Gonzaga’s Mark Few is looking to win his second Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year Award in four years (2017). While a win in 2020 would be the first for Dutcher, he would be the second winner from San Diego State, joining Steve Fisher who won the Men’s Coach of the Year honor in 2011.

“These coaches have shown their talent throughout the season, proving themselves as viable candidates to win this award,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “How their teams perform under pressure during their respective conference tournaments will have a great influence on our voting academy as they select the four finalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year.”

Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year 2020 Semifinalists

PatrickChambersPenn StateBig Ten
ScottDrewBaylorBig 12
BrianDutcherSan Diego StateMountain West
AnthonyGrantDaytonAtlantic 10
LeonardHamiltonFlorida StateACC
GregMcDermottCreightonBIG EAST

The competition for the Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy for Men’s Coach of the Year will be narrowed to four finalists on March 18. Fans will be able to support their favorite coach by visiting naismithtrophy.com/vote between March 20-April 1, to cast their ballot, and the fan vote will account for five percent of the overall final vote. Then, on April 5, the 2020 Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy for Men’s College Coach of the Year will be awarded at the Naismith Awards Brunch presented by Invesco QQQ, during the Men’s Division I Championship weekend in Atlanta.

“Throughout the regular season, each of the semifinalists has led their team to excellence and put them in a favorable position for an exciting postseason run,” said Stacy Gardella, vice president of brand marketing at WernerCo. “We look forward to seeing four of these coaches advance as finalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year.”

The four finalists will be 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 2019-20 college basketball season. The vote will be tabulated and certified by Aprio, a premier, CPA-led business advisory firm, headquartered in Atlanta.

For more information, visit www.naismithtrophy.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, 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 Citizen 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 Citizen Watch Company, Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.


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Media Contact:

Traci Messier

Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club

[email protected]