Calipari Tabbed Naismith Coach of the Year
INDIANAPOLIS - Kentucky coach John Calipari was named the Naismith Coach of the Year for the third time in his illustrious career by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Sunday at the Naismith Awards Brunch in Indianapolis. This year's honor is the first while at the helm of the Kentucky program. Calipari previously claimed the honor in 2008 as the head coach at Memphis and in 1996 while at Massachusetts.
He is the first coach in the history of the award to have won the honor while at the helm of three different programs.
"A coaching award is a staff award, and we are all celebrating these awards that are coming our way together because of the way these players have allowed us to coach them," Calipari said. "The Naismith award is one of the first national coaching awards I received back in 1996 and holds a special place with me. When I heard that I was a finalist, I was excited just because it's a reflection of how hard this staff and how hard our players have worked. To be able to get this prestigious award at three different schools is an honor, and I want to thank the Naismith committee for this award."
The winner was determined by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's national voting academy, which based its criteria on the coaches' performances to this point in the 2014-15 men's college basketball season.
In addition to earning the honor, Calipari was a finalist for the award in five additional seasons. Other finalists for the 2015 award included Virginia's Tony Bennett, Wisconsin's Bo Ryan and Jay Wright of Villanova.
Calipari led UK into a second straight Final Four this season, and the fourth in the last five years on the back of a 38-0 record before falling to Wisconsin last night. Kentucky was the first team to enter the Final Four undefeated since 1991.
With 38 victories this season, Calipari's 2014-15 Wildcats tied his 2007-08 Memphis team and his 2011-12 national championship Kentucky team's NCAA Division I record for single-season wins.
Kentucky has spent 19 straight weeks at No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 this season, tied for the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history. UK now owns the NCAA Division I record for most appearances at No. 1 in the AP poll in a single season at 19.
Calipari was named AP Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year for the third time in his career earlier this season. He was also Sporting News, Associated Press and the National Association of Basketball Coaches' National Coach of the Year.
He is also one of 12 finalists eligible to go in to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September. The Class of 2015 will be announced on Monday at a press conference in Indianapolis, prior to the national championship game.