Few Named Naismith Coach Finalist

March 2, 2005

ATLANTA - Twenty of the country's top collegiate men's basketball coaches, including Gonzaga University's Mark Few, were named as finalists for the Naismith Award presented by Coca-Cola, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Wednesday.

The Naismith Award is one of the the most prestigious national awards presented annually to the men's and women's college basketball coaches of the year.

Few, in his sixth season at Gonzaga, has the Bulldogs 23-4, ranked 12th in the country and the No. 1 seed heading into this weekend's West Coast Conference Tournament at Santa Clara University. The Bulldogs, who won their fifth straight WCC regular-season title, will play in Sunday's 6 p.m. semifinal against an opponent to be determined in first and second round play Friday and Saturday. Few earned his fifrth straight WCC Coach of the Year accolade earlier this week.

The top 20 list was compiled 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 performance this season.

"The Naismith Award is the preeminent honor in college basketball," said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. "Each of these coaches has left a lasting impact on the lives and careers of his players and is beyond worthy of taking home the Trophy in April."

These coaches will go to the final ballot in March, when the Board will select the coach who has distinguished himself as the best collegiate coach in the nation. The coach of the year will be recognized at the Naismith Awards Banquet on April 8 in Atlanta.

"College coaches play such an important role in fueling the excitement of NCAA basketball," said Valerie Manis, senior manager, Coca-Cola North America. "As an official NCAA Corporate Champion, Coca-Cola congratulates each of these deserving men for their outstanding work."

The candidates for the Naismith Award presented by Coca-Cola, listed in alphabetical order, are as follows:

Rick Barnes, Texas
Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
Mark Few, Gonzaga
Ray Giacoletti, Utah
Billy Gillispie, Texas A&M
Frank Haith, Miami (FL)
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
Lute Olson, Arizona
Rick Pitino, Louisville
Skip Prosser, Wake Forest
Lorenzo Romar, Washington
Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
Kelvin Sampson, Oklahoma
Bill Self, Kansas
Al Skinner, Boston College
Tubby Smith, Kentucky
Eddie Sutton, Oklahoma State
John Thompson III, Georgetown
Bruce Weber, Illinois
Roy Williams, North Carolina



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