The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced finalists for the Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy for Men’s College Coach of the Year on Thursday, and Tennessee’s Rick Barnes made the four-man cut.
Ten semifinalists were previously announced on Feb. 23. Other finalists include Virginia’s Tony Bennett, Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann and Villanova’s Jay Wright.
A fan vote will account for five percent of the final Coach of the Year selection tally, and fans will have the opportunity to cast their vote once daily by visiting www.naismithtrophy.com/vote between March 19-30.
In his third season at Tennessee, Barnes took a team picked in the preseason to finish 13th in the 14-team Southeastern Conference to a 25-8 (10-5 SEC) record, the regular-season SEC Championship and a run to the SEC Tournament Championship Game. The Volunteers are rated No. 8 in the NCAA’s RPI listing and have spent 14 consecutive weeks in the Associated Press Top-25 poll. Tennessee has won 12 games away from home and defeated five “Power Five” opponents during non-conference play (Purdue, NC State, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Iowa State).
The Vols earned a No. 3 seed in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament and face Wright State in a first-round matchup Thursday at 12:40 p.m. ET (TruTV).
The Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy for Men’s College Coach of the Year will be announced on during the Naismith Awards brunch April 1 at Pearl Stable in San Antonio, Texas.