Naismith Awards Names Sharp Finalist

Atlanta Tipoff Club recognizes Texas Tech's Marsha Sharp, Baylor's Kim Mulkey-Robertson, Iowa State's Bill Fennelly, and Kansas State's Deb Patterson as contenders for Women's Coach of the Year.

ATLANTA (March 3, 2005) – Twenty of the country's top collegiate women's basketball coaches were named as finalists for the Naismith Award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. The Naismith Award is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the men's and women's college basketball coaches of the year.

The top 20 list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The board based its criteria on coaching performance this season.

"Each of our finalists is more than deserving of this year's Naismith Award," said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. "These coaches are the best in the business and their contributions have left a lasting impact on their players, programs and the sport of basketball."

The 20 finalists will be on the ballot in March when the Board of Selectors votes to select this year's top collegiate coach in the nation. The winner will be recognized at the Naismith Awards Banquet on April 8 in Atlanta.

The candidates for the Naismith Award, listed in alphabetical order, are as follows:

Geno Auriemma, Connecticut;

Pam Borton, Minnesota;

Doug Bruno, DePaul;

Pokey Chatman, LSU;

Bill Fennelly, Iowa State;

Jim Foster, Ohio State;

Brenda Frese, Maryland;

Gail Goestenkors, Duke;

Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina;

Cathy Inglese, Boston College;

Joanne Palombo-McCallie, Michigan State;

Deb Patterson, Kansas State;

Muffett McGraw, Notre Dame;

Kim Mulkey-Robertson, Baylor;

Sue Semrau, FSU;

Marsha Sharp, Texas Tech;

Dawn Staley, Temple;

C. Vivian Stringer, Rutgers;

Tara VanDerVeer, Stanford.

Last year's Naismith Award recipient was Tennessee's Pat Summitt, whose selection marked her fifth as women's coach of the year.

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The Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club has presented the Naismith Trophy since UCLA's Lew Alcindor first won the award in 1969. In 1987, Tennessee's Pat Summitt became the first women's college coach to win the Award.

The Naismith Awards program has become an emblem of excellence for the game, recognizing the men's and women's college players, coaches and officials of the year, and the male and female high school players of the year.

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