The Jim Phelan Award is given annually to the nation’s top coach, as voted on by a 20-member panel. The winner will be presented with the award at the 2009 Final Four in Detroit. Prior to 2003, the award was known simply as the Collegeinsider.com national coach of the year. It was renamed to honor longtime Mount St. Mary’s head coach Jim Phelan who retired following the 2002-03 season.
Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon, who received mid-season Phelan Award honors, headlines a group, which includes two coaches in their first seasons at their respective schools.
Trent Johnson is in his first year at LSU after successful stops at Stanford and Nevada, leading both programs to the sweet 16. His team is 13-1 in the SEC and clinched the conference Saturday with a win at Kentucky, LSU’s first win in Lexington in 20 years.
“This is an outstanding group of coaches,” said Jim Phelan who is the chairman of the award committee. “Every one of the coaches on the list is deserving of coach of the year honors.
The remaining seven finalists include: Jim Calhoun (UConn), John Calipari (Memphis), Lorenzo Romar (Washington), Bill Self (Kansas), Brad Stevens (Butler), Bruce Weber (Illinois) and Roy Williams (North Carolina).