Former winners Kim Mulkey and Muffet McGraw headline the four finalists vying for the 2013 Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Thursday. They are joined by California coach Lindsay Gottlieb and Dayton coach Jim Jabir. The Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award will be announced during the NCAA Women’s Final Four in New Orleans.
The four finalists were selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s National Voting Academy, which based its criteria on the coaches’ performances to this point in the 2013 women’s college basketball season.
“It has been another remarkable season for women’s basketball and these four finalists deserve the distinction of being called the best coaches in the country,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Whether we have a repeat winner or a first-timer, we look forward to adding another chapter to our award history.”
About the finalists:
• Lindsay Gottlieb, California: Gottlieb led California to a regular season finish of 27-2 (17-1 in the Pac-12), as well as a conference co-championship – program bests in 29 years of California basketball. The Bears’ victory against rival Stanford in January ended the Cardinal’s 81-game conference winning streak. California is a No. 2 Seed in the Spokane Region in the NCAA tournament. Gottlieb became just the fifth coach to win a Pac-12 title in her first two seasons as a head coach in the conference.
• Jim Jabir, Dayton: Led by Jabir, the 2012-2013 Flyers were the only team in history to finish Atlantic 10 play with a perfect conference mark (14-0). The 14 conference wins is a program record and they captured their first A-10 regular season championship. He was named the 2013 A-10 Coach of the Year after guiding the Flyers to 27 overall wins, the most victories in a single season in school history.
• Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame: McGraw’s 2012-2013 Notre Dame team won both the Big East regular season and tournament championships. For the season, the Irish sit at 31-1 heading into the NCAA tournament where they are the top seed in the Norfolk Region. McGraw previously won the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year award in 2001.
• Kim Mulkey, Baylor: The Baylor women’s basketball team finished a perfect 18-0 in the Big 12 conference, going undefeated for the second consecutive season, and capturing their fourth Big 12 regular season title. Mulkey led her squad to a 32-1 overall record, including the Big 12 conference tournament championship. The Lady Bears, which finished the season ranked No. 1 in the polls, are the No. 1 seed in the Waco Region of the NCAA tournament. Mulkey, who was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year, seeks to repeat as the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year.