SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Mark Few, who has led Gonzaga to its first NCAA championship game, was selected as the 2017 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Sunday. The announcement of Few, who edged out other finalists Chris Collins (Northwestern), Bill Self (Kansas) and Jay Wright (Villanova), was made earlier today at the Naismith Awards Brunch delivered by UPS.
Few was chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners, who based their selections on outstanding on-court coaching performances during the 2016-17 college basketball season, and by fans, who were eligible to vote at www.naismithtrophy.com/vote from March 20-31. The vote was tabulated and certified by Aprio, formerly Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, the largest full-service, independent CPA-led business advisory firm, based in Atlanta.
“It’s truly an honor to be chosen for the Naismith Award. It takes a village to have a season like this,” Few said. “I’m blessed to have the best coaching staff in the country and a phenomenal group of players that are a joy to coach. This has been such a special year and I am grateful to be recognized by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.”
“Mark has been a model of consistency throughout his tenure at Gonzaga, but reaching the Final Four made this season truly special, and he deserves tremendous credit for leading the team to that remarkable accomplishment,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Our voters made a terrific choice in selecting him the Werner Ladder Coach of the Year.”
“Werner is honored to be recognizing Mark Few as he joins an elite group of coaching legends as the newest Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year,” said Chris Filardi, Vice President of Marketing at WernerCo. “The new bronze trophy is a symbol of past and present winners who have shaped the lives of so many young athletes and Coach Few has secured his permanent place in the archives.”
Few will be presented with a new custom commemorative trophy designed by nationally acclaimed sculptor Brian Hanlon. The bronze trophy features Dr. James Naismith, inventor of basketball, holding the original peach basket and ball used to play the first game.
This season, Few guided Gonzaga to the program’s fifth consecutive West Coast Conference regular-season championship and its fifth straight WCC tournament championship, and he was named WCC Coach of the Year for the 11th time. The Zags lost 70% of its points, 65% of its rebounds from last season’s team and welcomed nine new players for this season. Few has led Gonzaga to its 10th straight season with at least 25 wins, and third 30-win season in program history.
The inaugural Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year award went to Bob Knight (Indiana University) in 1987. Other notable past Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year winners include Mike Krzyzewski (1999, 1992, 1989; Duke University), Dean Smith (1993; University of North Carolina), John Calipari (2015, University of Kentucky; 2008 University of Memphis; 1996, University of Massachusetts) and Jay Wright (2006, 2016; Villanova University).