UConn Coach Kevin Ollie was given a national award Friday night.
ATLANTA (April 5, 2013) ---UConn men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie has been chosen as the recipient of the 2013 Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year Award, announced Friday night by Collegeinsider.com in Atlanta, site of the Final Four.
The Ben Jobe Award is given annually to the top minority coach in Division I basketball, who has produced the best results from his team under adverse or otherwise difficult conditions.
Ollie, who took over the UConn program last September from Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun, guided the Huskies to a 20-win season season (20-10) in 2012-13, and a 10-8 record in the BIG EAST Conference, despite a roster depleted by early defections to the NBA and transfers. The record included victories over nationally-ranked Syracuse, Michigan State, and Notre Dame.
Ollie was among those on a list of 20 finalists for this year's award, which included some of the top minority coaches in the country. Past recipients of the award include Ed Cooley of Fairfield in 2010, Cuonzo Martin of Missouri State in 2011, and Sean Woods of Mississippi Valley State in 2012.
Ollie was also on a list of finalists for the Collegeinsider.com's Joe B. Hall Award, which recognizes the top first-year coach in Division I college basketball. The awards were announced Friday night at the Collegeinsider.com Awards Banquet in Atlanta.
The award is named in honor of Jobe, a pioneer for minority coaches in college basketball. Jobe, now 80 and still doing some scouting for the New York Knicks, won 524 games in 31 years of coaching at colleges like Alabama State, South Carolina State, Alabama A&M, and the University of Denver. He is best-known, however, for the 12 successful years he spent as coach of Southern University, taking his team to four NCAA Tournaments and an NIT appearance.
Other award-winners Friday night include: Shane Larkin of Miami (Lute Olson Award for national player of the year), Joe Mihalich of Niagara (Skip Prosser Award for strong moral character), Bob Thomason of Pacific (Gene Bartow Award for outstanding achievement and contributions to the game), Tom Billeter of Augustana College (Clarence Gaines Award for top Division II coach), Brandon Rinta of Lewis-Clark State (Don Meyer Award for top NAIA coach), Anthony Bennett of UNLV (Kyle Macy Award for top Division I freshman player), Luke Reigel of Wisconsin Parkside (Jack Bennett Award for winning with integrity), Matthew Dellavedova of Saint Mary's (Lou Henson Award for outstanding mid-major player), Jack Perri of LIU-Brooklyn (Joe B. Hall Award for outstanding first-year coach), Chris Bartley of WPI (Glenn Robinson Award for Division III Coach of the Year), John Thompson III of Georgetown (John McLenson Award for top collegiate head coach encompassing Division I, II, III, NAIA and JUCO), Tommy Brenton of Stony Brook (Lefty Driesell Award for outstanding defensive player in Division I), Danny Kaspar of Stephen F. Austin (Hugh Durhan Award for mid-major Coach of the Year), and Dana Altman of Oregon (Jim Phelan Award for outstanding Division I head coach).