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NEW ORLEANS – University of Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw was honored as the 2013 Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year and Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick was selected as the Spalding Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year Award, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced Monday night during the third annual WBCA Awards Show. The event is held in conjunction with the WBCA's annual convention and the NCAA Final Four.
The WBCA also announced the Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coaches of the Year in other collegiate divisions. Barbara Stevens of Bentley University was named NCAA Division II national coach of the year, Kris Huffman of DePauw University was named NCAA Division III national coach of the year, George Wilson of College of the Ozarks was named NAIA national coach of the year, and Kate Lynch of Community College of Rhode Island was named junior/community college national coach of the year.
Division I National Coach of the Year: Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame
“The WBCA is delighted to name Muffet as the 2013 Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year,” said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. “Muffet had a banner year and is deserving of this honor after an impressive season. I believe this award will be extra special for Muffet because she was chosen by her peers and they respect her coaching mentality.”
"We would like to congratulate these coaches for receiving the Russell Athletic WBCA Coach-of-the-Year Award,” said Senior Vice President of Russell Athletic, Gary Barfield. “All five of these coaches embody the team concept we model our business after, and we are pleased to honor them for a fantastic season."
McGraw, the 2013 BIG EAST Coach of the Year, helped guide the Fighting Irish to their first BIG EAST tournament championship. She last captured the BIG EAST Coach of the Year honor in 2001. McGraw is a five-time conference Coach of the Year. The University of Notre Dame also won their third BIG EAST Conference regular-season championship after going 16-0 in league play.
Heading into the 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament the Fighting Irish were on a 26-game win streak including pulling off a triple-overtime win over rival Connecticut. The University of Notre Dame entered the tournament 31-1 overall with their only loss coming against Baylor on December 5th. The Irish made their way to the Final Four before falling to Connecticut Sunday in the national semifinal.
McGraw has led Notre Dame to four NCAA Division I national championship games, five trips to the NCAA Women’s Final Four, 11 NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances while having made it to 20 NCAA tournament appearances including 18 in a row.
Division I Rookie Coach of the Year: Holly Warlick, Tennessee
The Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year Award honors a WBCA Division I head coach who has led his or her team to a successful season during his or her first year at the helm. The distinguished award is named in honor of the late Maggie Dixon, former Army head coach, whose success during her inaugural year at the Army helm was remarkable. The Black Knights won the Patriot League title in 2006 and Dixon was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year after leading Army to the NCAA Tournament for the first time at the NCAA Division I level. Coach Dixon passed away on April 6, 2006, just a few weeks following their appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
“It can be overwhelming during a head coach’s rookie season, especially when you take over for a legend like Pat Summitt, but Holly has done a tremendous job at the helm of the Lady Volunteers program and will continue to have success,” said WBCA CEO Beth Bass in announcing Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick's receipt of the honor. “We are proud to present Holly with the Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year award.”
"This award represents many things including a lot of passion, hard work, and obviously great coaching,” said John Salay, Director Spalding US. “Congratulations to Coach [Warlick] on being the 2013 Spalding Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year.
Following 27 years as a loyal assistant to Hall-of-Fame coach Pat Summitt, Warlick led the Lady Vols to a 27-8 record in her first season as a head coach. In her first season at the helm of the program the Lady Vols continued their streak of earning a berth into the NCAA Tournament every season of the tournament's existence. The Lady Vols also made their 31st regional appearance in NCAA play, making it to the Elite Eight before falling to Louisville in the Oklahoma City Regional. Tennessee is ranked fourth in the nation in scoring offense (77.6), 10th in field-goal percentage (44.9) and 11th in three-point field goal percentage (36.5). The Lady Vols earned their 17th SEC regular-season crown this season, finishing with a 14-1 record in conference play.
Prior to becoming an assistant coach at the University of Tennessee, Warlick served as an assistant coach for two years at both the University of Nebraska and Virginia Tech University.
Warlick was a three-time All-American as a player under Summitt from 1976-80. She continues to hold the Lady Vols single-season steals record with 141 in 1978-79. The Lady Vols made it to the Final Four three times when Warlick was a player (1977, 1979 and 1980).
National Coaches of the Year -- Other Divisions
Barbara Stevens, Bentley University -- NCAA Division II. On Monday night, Stevens, who is in her 27th year as head coach at Bentley, was named the WBCA Division II National Coach of the Year for the fourth time, after earning the honor in 1992, 1999 and 2001. She led the Falcons to their third consecutive Northeast-10 Conference Women’s Basketball Championship earlier this season. The Falcons also won the regular-season conference championship with a 21-1 record. Bentley entered the 2013 NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament for the 30th time overall and for the 26th time in Stevens’ 27 seasons with the Falcons. The Falcons have posted at least 20 wins in 25 of Steven’s 27 years at the helm of the program, including 11 seasons of at least 30 wins. Steven guided the Falcons to a 30-2 overall record this season and to the NCAA Division II East Regional Semifinals.
Kris Huffman, DePauw University -- NCAA Division III. Huffman led the DePauw University Tigers to their second NCAA Division III national championship. DePauw became the only team to win 34 games in a season when they went undefeated this year to claim the national championship. In her 20 years as the head women’s basketball coach Huffman is the program’s winningest coach with a 466-102 career record and a 249-31 conference mark. The Tigers made the NCAA Division III Championship for a 10th straight time after winning its second straight North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament championship. DePauw currently has a regular season win streak of 53 and they have the program’s longest win streak at 34.
George Wilson, College of the Ozarks -- NAIA. Wilson, who retired at the conclusion of this season, coached for 16 years at College of the Ozarks. During his final season College of the Ozarks made it to the second round of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament, capping off its season at 30-5 overall and 14-2 in conference action and finishing second in the conference standings. Wilson earned his 1,000th win this season including victories in both his high school and his collegiate careers. He was also inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame this year. The Lady Bobcats won the “What’s Right in the Sport” award this season and Buffalo Funds Champions of Character award.
Kate Lynch, Community College of Rhode Island -- Junior/Community College. Lynch, in her second year as the head coach of the Knights, led Community College of Rhode Island to a 24-5 overall record as they reached the 2013 Junior College/Community College District N Championship. They captured their 10th consecutive Region XXI title.
Source: Substantial portions of this article were provided in press releases issued by the WBCA and the University of Tennessee.
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