Four Previous Honorees Headline Marquee Group of Candidates

Atlanta (Feb. 15, 2023) – Today, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced 15 potential candidates for the 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year award. This list features four of the last six winners including Geno Auriemma (UConn), Lisa Bluder (Iowa), Dawn Staley (South Carolina) and Tara VanDerveer (Stanford). An eight-time honoree, Auriemma most recently garnered the honor in back-to-back seasons in 2016 and 2017. Staley has been recognized as the top head coach in women’s college basketball two of the last three years (2020, 2022). She is also a two-time Jersey Mike’s Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year honoree (1991 and 1992).

The Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year award will be narrowed to 10 semifinalists on Wednesday, March 8. The Fan Vote to help narrow the list down to the final honoree will open Tuesday, March 21, and close Tuesday, March 28. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, March 29, at the Women’s Final Four in Dallas.

“The Werner Ladder Naismith College Women’s Coach of the Year award has historically been a highly competitive race every season, and this year is no different,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “This is a balanced group of former winners, longtime coaches and a few who are just making a strong name for themselves and their programs.”

“We’re excited to recognize each of these coaches for their outstanding leadership and for coaching their teams to successful seasons thus far,” said Stacy Gardella, head of Global Marketing Technology & Operations at WernerCo. “We could not be more proud to honor the coaches on this watch list, and we wish them the best for the rest of their seasons.”

2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Late Season Watch List

Geno AuriemmaBIG EASTUConn
Lisa BluderBig TenIowa
Kenny BrooksACCVirginia Tech
Denise DillonBIG EASTVillanova
Lisa FortierWCCGonzaga
Shauna GreenBig TenIllinois
Niele IveyACCNotre Dame
Kara LawsonACCDuke
Kevin McGuffBig TenOhio State
Teri MorenBig TenIndiana
Kim MulkeySECLSU
JR PaynePac-12Colorado
Lynne RobertsPac-12Utah
Dawn StaleySECSouth Carolina
Tara VanDerveerPac-12Stanford


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 Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.


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Media Contact:

Traci Messier

Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club

[email protected]