TUBBY SMITH WINS PHELAN AWARD
April 4, 2005
leading his team to a 28-6 record, University of Kentucky head coach Tubby
Smith was rewarded with 2005 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award,
edging Illinois' Bruce Weber by ten points.
“This might be Tubby’s finest coaching job,” says Rice head coach Willis
Wilson who is one of 20 members on the Phelan Award committee. “He got so
much out of his team, which was very young. His ability to motivate and
get the most of out what he has to work with has always been a staple of
Tubby Smith. This season was a prime example of that. Tubby really
deserves this award.”
Smith received 10 first-place votes, while Weber received 8. Utah’s Ray
Giacoletti and Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Bruce Pearl each received one
first-place vote. Pacific’s Bob Thomason finished third overall in the
voting, followed by Pearl, Boston College’s Al Skinner and Giacoletti.
The Wildcats began the season winning 10-of-11 and 19-of-21. And much to
the surprise of many, UK won its first ten Southeastern Conference games.
Kentucky’s come-from-behind win at Alabama (Feb. 26) clinched the school’s
43rd SEC title. It was Tubby’s fifth SEC title in eight seasons.
Over the past three seasons, Smith has led Kentucky to 51-4 mark against
SEC opponents. The total ties the SEC record for most wins over conference
foes in a three-year period. Kentucky has previously reached the 51-win
mark over two spans (1995-97 and 1996-98).
“Despite all he has accomplished I still don’t believe that Tubby has
received the credit he deserves,” says Joe Dwyer (pictured above) who is
the editor-in-chief of CollegeInsider.com and a member of the Phelan award
committee. “In my opinion, being the head basketball coach at Kentucky
might be the single most challenging job in all of sports.”
Smith is the third recipient of the Jim Phelan Coach of the Year award,
which was originally established in 1996 as the CollegeInsider.com
National Coach of the Year award. In March 2003, the award was renamed to
honor long-time Mount St. Mary’s coach Jim Phelan.
Mercer’s Mark Slonaker was the 2003 recipient and St. Joseph’s Phil
Martelli took the honor in 2004.
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