Naismith Coach of The Year Award winners to be announced Thursday on CBS Sports HQ


The finalists for the 2020 Naismith Men’s and Women’s Coach of The Year Awards will soon learn who will win the prestigious awards given annually by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The winners will be announced live Thursday at noon ET on CBS Sports HQ.

Each of the finalists led programs that were on track to advance deep in the NCAA Tournament before the coronavirus pandemic cut the season short. Still, they each reached impressive heights.

Here’s the breakdown on those in the running for the awards given to the best coach in men’s and women’s college basketball.

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Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year finalists

Scott Drew, Baylor: Drew’s tenure at Baylor reached its peak in year 17 as he guided the Bears to a 26-4 overall record that included a 15-3 mark in Big 12 play, their best since joining the conference in 1996. He did it with a team full of ferocious defenders and without signing a class ranked better than 36th nationally by 247Sports over the last five years.

Brian Dutcher, San Diego State: The third-year coach led a team picked to finish second in the Mountain West to a 26-0 start by blending a group of transfers and returning players into a slow-paced but incredibly efficient team. The Aztecs faltered just a bit late with two losses in their final six games. But double-digit victories over Creighton and Iowa in the non-conference schedule are a testament to how lethal they could have been in the NCAA Tournament.

Anthony Grant, Dayton: Archie Miller was a tough act to follow, but in just his third season, Grant led the Flyers to their highest ranking in 65 years, and he did it with his recruits, not Miller’s. Stars Obi Toppin and Jalen Crutcher came to play for Grant and, under his guidance, led a team picked to finish third in the Atlantic 10 to a 29-2 record and a projected No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Leonard Hamilton, Florida State: Hamilton just gets better with time. He led the Seminoles to a 26-5 record and a 16-4 ACC record, which was a program-best and good enough for an outright conference title. What’s more is he did it with a team picked to finish fifth in the league after losing its top two scorers. There was nothing flashy about these Seminoles. They were sound, deep and a reflection of their veteran coach.

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Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year finalists

Adia Barnes, Arizona: In 2016 Barnes inherited a program coming off five straight losing seasons. Three seasons later, the Wildcats were the 2019 WNIT champions. This year, they were 24-7 and on track to make the program’s first NCAA Tournament since 2005 until the event’s cancelation. Arizona should be even better next season under Barnes as its top three scorers could each return.

Kelly Graves, Oregon: Oregon had never advanced beyond the second round of the NCAA Tournament until Graves led the Ducks to the Elite Eight in 2017 during the program’s first tournament appearance in 12 years. They have kept rising since, culminating with this season’s 31-2 record and No. 2 ranking in the final AP Top 25.

Joe McKeown, Northwestern: The Big Ten preseason coaches poll only ranked the top-five teams. Northwestern was not among them. Yet, at the end of the regular season, the Wildcats were champions as McKeown led a team with modest expectations to the unforeseen heights of a 26-3 (16-2 Big Ten) record and the program’s first league title in 30 years.

Dawn Staley, South Carolina: The Gamecocks dominated the SEC and the country for that matter as they finished the season on a 26-game winning streak for a 32-1 (16-0 SEC) record. Staley had South Carolina in position to win their second national championship in four years. It was an impressive rebound from last season’s 23-10 campaign.





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