Villanova’s Jay Wright was named amongst four finalist for the top coaching honor in college basketball- the Naismith Coach of the Year award. The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the four finalists on Thursday, March 17 and the winner will be announced on Sunday, April 3 at the Naismith Awards Brunch sponsored by UPS at the NCAA Men’s Final Four in Houston.
The other three finalists include, Tom Crean (Indiana University), Chris Mack (Xavier University), and Bill Self (Kansas University). Self and Wright won the award in the past.
The Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy consists of top journalists from around the country, former award winners, conference commissioners, and current as well as former head coaches. The committee votes based on coaching performances throughout the 2015-2016 season.
Jay Wright is currently 30-5 after winning the first round of the NCAA tournament over UNC Asheville Friday afternoon. The 2015-2016 marks Wright’s third straight season of winning 25 or more games. There have only been 12 seasons of 25 or more victories since the Villanova basketball program began in 1920 and half of those have come during Wright’s tenure starting in 2006.
The Wildcats also finished 16-2 for the third straight season as they clinched the third consecutive Big East regular season title. For the fifth time since 2006 the Wildcats HC as named the Big East Coach of the Year this season. Jay Wright became the first coach to win three straight seasons.
Villanova basketball has had a strong season as they were ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches poll of February 8. They remained at the top of the polls for three weeks before dropping. The run at No. 1 marked the first time the Wildcats have been ranked that high in the regular season in program history.
The Wildcats and Naismith Coach of the Year Jay Wright face the Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday afternoon for a 12:10 tipoff at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Villanova hopes to reach the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2009.