Rick Pitino named C-USA Coach of the Year

University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, who led the Cardinals to the regular-season Conference USA title with an impressive 14-2 mark, was named the C-USA Coach of the Year today.

Charlotte senior swingman Eddie Basden added the Conference USA Player of the Year award to his growing list of postseason recognition in an announcement made by the league office on Wednesday. Basden, who was named to the All-C-USA first team and the league's Defensive Player of the Year earlier this week, is the first 49er to earn a pair of individual awards in the same season.

Louisville's Rick Pitino was named the Ray Meyer Coach of the Year after directing the Cardinals to their first C-USA regular season championship. The No. 6 Cardinals enter the C-USA Tournament ranked sixth in the country and as the top-seed. U of L will open play Thursday against the Marquette-TCU winner at 1 p.m. EST.

This is the fourth time that Pitino has been honored as a conference Coach of the Year, having earned the SEC's top coaching accolade in 1990, 1991 and 1996. He has been recognized as a National Coach of the Year three times and ranks among the 10 winningest active NCAA Division I men's basketball coaches by percentage.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year honoree stepped up his all-around game this season to lead the 49ers to a second-place regular season finish. The senior ranked in the Top 10 in the league in points (10th, 15.3 ppg), rebounds (5th, 8.5 rpg), assists (10th, 3.6 apg) and steals (1st, 3.3 spg).

During a seven-game winning streak through the month of February, Basden earned a trio of C-USA Player of the Week honors as Charlotte swept the weekly awards that month. The Washington, D.C., native is just the second 49er to earn C-USA Player of the Year honors joining former 49er great DeMarco Johnson, who was named to the Conference USA All-Decade team earlier in the week.

The Ray Meyer Coach of the Year Award is selected by the conference coaches and is presented by the Birmingham Tip-Off Club.

Cardinal Authority Top Stories