March 20, 2013

ATLANTA, Ga. – Jim Crews, interim head coach of the Saint Louis University Billikens, is among four finalists for the 2013 Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. He was joined by Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few, University of Miami coach Jim Larranaga and Georgetown University coach John Thompson III.

The finalists were determined by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, which based its criteria on the coaches’ performances to this point in the 2013 men’s college basketball season. The Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year will be announced and honored April 7, 2013 in Atlanta.

“Heading into the tournament, we’ve already seen a tremendously exciting season of college basketball, with parity all across the country, which makes it even more impressive what these four coaches have been able to achieve,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “We would be proud to call any of them a Naismith Award winner.”

ABOUT THE FINALISTS:

Jim Crews, Saint Louis University: Taking over after the retirement and subsequent death of legendary coach Rick Majerus, Crews led the Billikens to a school-record-tying 27 victories for far this season. The Billikens have a record of 27-6 and won both the Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season and tournament titles. He guided his squad to winning streaks this year of nine and 11 games, and was recently named the A-10 Coach of the Year.

Mark Few, Gonzaga University: Few led the Bulldogs to the first 16-0 record in West Coast Conference history, 31-2 overall, and won both the West Coast Conference regular season and tournament titles. Gonzaga became the first school from a non-BCS conference to finish No. 1 in the final AP poll since Massachusetts of the Atlantic 10 in 1996. Few was named the WCC Coach of the Year.

Jim Larranaga, University of Miami: Under Larranaga’s leadership, the Hurricanes won the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and tournament championships, each the school’s first since joining the league. They went 15-3 in ACC play, 27-6 overall, during the regular season. He was selected by his peers as the ACC Coach of the Year.

John Thompson III, Georgetown University: He led Georgetown to a 25-6 record this season, including a 14-4 mark in BIG EAST play and a share of the Big East regular season championship. The Hoyas won 11 consecutive games in one stretch, and finished the regular season ranked No. 5 in the country. For his efforts, Thompson III was rewarded by being named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year.

ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB

The Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club, founded during the 1956-57 season, has presented the Naismith Trophy every year since UCLA’s Lew Alcindor first won the award in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Naismith Trophy in 1983.

The Naismith Award has become the most prestigious award in all of college basketball, recognizing the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year, Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coach of the Year, as well as awards for outstanding achievement in high school basketball, officiating, and contribution to the game.