The Naismith Coach of the Year award has been narrowed to 15 finalists today. Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes made the cut, thanks to a current 24-3 record and spending a handful of weeks at the No. 1 spot in the polls.
The other 14 candidates are listed below.
Coach of the Year Candidates:— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 27, 2019
Barnes made the final four for this award last season, but eventually lost out to Virginia coach Tony Bennett.
Tennessee has returned to the national stage in a big way under Barnes, who resurrected the program after taking over for Donnie Tyndall. It was a slow build, but the player development has been nothing short of spectacular to this point in Knoxville. Barnes and his staff have turned a group of three-star prospects into a national title contender.
The Vols won 19 consecutive games earlier this year, including knocking off No. 1 Gonzaga in Phoenix back in December.
There was a point in time this season where Barnes seemed to be running away with this award, but after a couple of recent bumps in the road, he’s likely got some work to do. Tennessee heads to Ole Miss tonight, before finishing the regular season with Kentucky, Mississippi State and Auburn.