For the seventh time during his illustrious career, Kentucky head coach John Calipari is a finalist for the Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year award, announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Tuesday.
Calipari is a two-time winner of the award, having earned the honor in 2008 as head coach at Memphis and in 1996 while at Massachusetts. He’s been tabbed a finalist in five additional seasons – including 2015, 2012 and 2010 while at the helm of the Wildcats.
UK’s head coach is joined on the ballot by Virginia’s Tony Bennett, Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan and Jay Wright of Villanova.
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 2014-15 men’s college basketball season. The Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year will be announced on April 5, at the Naismith Awards Brunch Delivered in Indianapolis.
Kentucky is off to a perfect 34-0 start after claiming the Southeastern Conference’s regular-season and tournament championship. It was the third regular-season crown and the third tournament title under Calipari’s direction. Calipari has led the Wildcats to their best start in school history, best start for an SEC team, longest overall winning streak in school history and his personal overall longest winning streak.
UK went 31-0 in the regular season – the first among power five conference teams since Indiana achieved the feat during the 1975-76 season. The Wildcats head into the NCAA Tournament as the top overall seed, assigned to the Midwest Region.
Calipari has already hauled in National Coach of the Year honors by Sporting News and is the United States Basketball Writers Association’s District IV Coach of the Year. Furthermore, he is the SEC’s Coach of the Year per the Associated Press and the league’s coaches.