Feb. 20, 2002

NORMAN, Okla. - University of Oklahoma men's basketball head coach Kelvin Sampson and OU women's basketball head coach Sherri Coale were named as finalists for the Naismith College Basketball Coach of the Year Awards today, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced. Sampson is one of 25 men's finalists and Coale is one of 25 coaches up for the women's award.

Sampson, whose Sooners were picked to finish fourth and fifth by most Big 12 preseason prognosticators, has directed his squad to a 21-4 record and a 9-3 Big 12 mark. OU is in second place in the conference race behind No. 1-ranked Kansas. The Sooners are ranked sixth in this week's AP top-25 poll and fifth in the ESPN/USA Today version. His team has been ranked as high as No. 4 nationally (both polls) this season.

Sampson is one of four Big 12 coaches on the men's list. Texas Tech's Bob Knight, Oklahoma State's Eddie Sutton and Kansas' Roy Williams are the others.

Coale's Sooners are ranked third in this week's polls and sport a 22-3 overall record. OU is 12-2 in conference play and has already sewn up a share of its third straight regular season league title. The team can clinch an outright Big 12 crown with a win this weekend at Missouri.

Colorado's Ceal Barry, Texas' Jody Conradt, Iowa State's Bill Fennelly, Baylor's Kim Mulkey-Robertson, Kansas State's Deb Patterson and Texas Tech's Marsha Sharp join Coale as candidates for the women's award.

The winners of the Naismith Awards will be honored April 5, 2002, in Atlanta at the Cobb Galleria Centre.