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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

John Calipari Named Finalist For National Coach Of The Year Award

University of Memphis head coach John Calipari has been named one of 15 finalists for the 2007 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year honor, the collegeinsider.com web site announced Tuesday.

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 NCAA Final Four in Atlanta.

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.

Calipari has guided the 2006-07 Tigers to a 23-3 overall record and a 12-0 mark in Conference USA. Memphis is ranked No. 7 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Top 25 polls. Under Calipari’s direction, the Tigers have the nation’s longest win streak at 15 straight and the country’s third-longest homecourt win streak at 27 straight.

With a win over Rice on Thursday, Memphis would clinch its second-straight outright Conference USA regular season title. The Tigers, who are one of only two teams in the nation to have an undefeated mark in conference play (Winthrop is 12-0 in the Big South), already have a share of the C-USA regular season crown.

Calipari is in his seventh season at Memphis and his 15th overall as a collegiate head coach. The Moon, Pa., native has a 171-62 mark in his time at Memphis, and his overall record in 364-133. Calipari is one of eight coaches in NCAA Division I basketball history to reach the 350-win milestone in his 15th season as a college head coach. He joined Roy Williams, Nolan Richardson, Denny Crum, Jim Boeheim, Tubby Smith, Rick Pitino and John Thompson in that elite group.

The other finalists for the 2007 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award are: Rhode Island’s Jim Baron, Washington State’s Tony Bennett, Florida’s Billy Donovan, Nevada’s Mark Fox, Texas A&M’s Billy Gillispie, Virginia Tech’s Seth Greenberg, UCLA’s Ben Howland, Butler’s Todd Lickliter, Southern Illinois’ Chris Lowery, Winthrop’s Gregg Marshall, Ohio State’s Thad Matta, Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan, Vanderbilt’s Kevin Stallings and Jacksonville’s Cliff Warren.