ATLANTA (March 12, 2019) — In the search of a tournament win, the coaches of the nation’s top four women’s college basketball teams are also seeking another win this season—the Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award. The contenders for the award became clearer today with the announcement of the semifinalists by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey, who won the award in 2012, and the reigning winner Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer, are each looking for their second win, and Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw looks to attain her fourth award after winning in 2001, 2013 and 2014. Meanwhile, semifinalist Geno Auriemma holds the record for most wins by a single candidate in the history of the Naismith Awards with nine wins of the Women’s Coach of the Year honor.

The field rounds out with six additional semifinalists who seek to claim their first Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year Award—Lisa Bluder (Iowa), Amanda Butler (Clemson), Kelly Graves (Oregon), Carolyn Kieger (Marquette), Wes Moore (North Carolina State) and Jeff Walz (Louisville). Out of the six, only Bluder would be the second women’s coach from her college to win the award, following C. Vivian Stringer, who won in 1993.

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“The competition for the Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award starts now as we see which coaches can withstand the tough matchups ahead,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “We’re looking forward to watching these candidates lead and push their teams to excel in the tournament.” 

The list will be narrowed to four finalists on March 21, and fans will be able to support their favorite women’s college coach by visiting naismithtrophy.com/vote between March 22-April 3, to cast their ballot. The fan vote will account for five percent of the overall final vote. The 2019 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year will be announced on April 6, and the winner will be honored at their school at a later date. 

“Werner is once again thrilled to be presenting the semifinalists for the Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year,” said Stacy Gardella, vice president of brand marketing at WernerCo. “These coaches know how to promote teamwork and dedication in the talented players they coach.”

Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award semifinalists

 NAME 

SCHOOL 

CONFERENCE 

Geno Auriemma 

UConn 

AAC 

Lisa Bluder 

Iowa 

Big Ten 

Amanda Butler 

Clemson 

ACC 

Kelly Graves 

Oregon 

Pac-12 

Carolyn Kieger 

Marquette 

BIG EAST 

Muffet McGraw 

Notre Dame 

ACC 

Wes Moore 

North Carolina State 

ACC 

Kim Mulkey 

Baylor 

Big 12 

Vic Schaefer 

Mississippi State 

SEC 

Jeff Walz 

Louisville 

ACC 

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The four finalists will be chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners, all of whom base their selections on outstanding coaching performances during the 2018-19 college basketball season. The vote will be tabulated and certified by Aprio, a premier, CPA-led business advisory firm. 

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