Villanova University head coach Jay Wright was named the 2016 Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, and in doing so, joins John Calipari (University of Massachusetts 1996, University of Memphis 2008 and University of Kentucky 2015) and Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University, 1989, 1992, 1999) as the only multi-year winners of the award. Wright became the first Big East coach to win the award in 2006, and now has won two in 11 years.
Wright was among a group of four finalists that included Tom Crean (Indiana University), Chris Mack (Xavier University) and Bill Self (University of Kansas). The announcement and presentation was made earlier today at the Naismith Awards Brunch delivered by UPS at the Hobby Center for Performing Arts in downtown Houston.
Wright was 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.
“I’m extremely proud to accept the Naismith Coach of the Year award on behalf of our staff and the Villanova basketball team. I know the great history of this award and our whole program is humbled to be honored with this year’s Naismith award.”
“Jay’s superb leadership and coaching acumen has never been more evident than it was this season,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “While many schools enjoyed tremendous successes, we really admire what Villanova was able to accomplish, which culminated in a Final Four berth.”
Villanova is 34-5 after defeating Oklahoma 95-51 in the Final Four national semifinals and now plays UNC for the national championship on Monday.
Wright led the Wildcats to their 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. This year, Wright led the team to its 11th NCAA Tournament and second Final Four run in his 15 seasons as head coach.
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 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 University’s Bob Knight won the inaugural award in 1987. For more information, visit www.naismithtrophy.com.