Capel Named Naismith Award Finalist

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

March 19, 2009

ATLANTA – Four of the nation's top coaches who have won at least 25 games this season, including Oklahoma's Jeff Capel, have been named as finalists for the 2009 Naismith Men's College Coach of the Year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today.  

Capel, Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon, LSU's Trent Johnson and Kansas' Bill Self make up the final ballot for the most prestigious national award presented annually to the top men's college basketball coach.  The winner will be announced in early April.

The finalists were voted on by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The board based its criteria on coaching performances this season. The vote was tabulated and certified by the accounting firm of Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP.

"The collective accomplishments of these coaches and their programs is remarkable, and they all are worthy of consideration for the Naismith Award," said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president.  "The tournament will go a long way to determining a very deserving winner."

ABOUT THE FINALISTS: 

Jeff Capel: In just his third season Capel has taken the Sooners from a .500 team to a 27-5 (12-3 Big 12) record and No. 2 seed in this year's NCAA Men's basketball Tournament.  The Sooners are making their 26 NCAA tournament appearance and 13th in the last 15 years.  Capel has posted a 66-32 record thus far in his tenure, and a 145-73 career mark, including four seasons at Virginia Commonwealth. 

Jamie Dixon: Dixon has led the Panthers (28-4, 15-3 Big East) to the NCAA Tournament appearances in each of his first six seasons as head coach, becoming the first coach in school history to do so, and the team has made a school-record eighth straight tournament visits.  And also for the first time in school history, the University of Pittsburgh men's basketball team will enter an NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed.  In six seasons, Dixon's career record at Pitt is 160-44.

Trent Johnson: The first-year coach led LSU to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular-season championship, posting a 13-3 league mark (26-7 overall) en route to being named the SEC Coach of the Year.   The Tigers are back in the NCAA Tournament after a two-year absence.  With previous stops at Nevada and Stanford, Johnson has amassed a career record of 185-128 in 10 seasons, including coach of the year honors in the Western Athletic Conference and Pacific 10.

Bill Self:  The Big 12 Coach of the Year led Kansas (25-7, 14-2) to its fifth-straight Conference Championship, despite losing six of its top seven scorers, including all five starters, from last year's NCAA National Championship team.  In six seasons as head coach, he has won one national championship, five regular-season Big 12 titles and three league tournament championships.  Self is also a four-time finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003).

Last year, Memphis' John Calipari claimed the Naismith Men's Coach of the Year award, his second such honor (Massachusetts, 1996).

(courtesy Atlanta Tipoff Club)

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