Matt Painter, former Big Ten coach among 4 finalists for Naismith Coach of the Year award
Matt Painter of Purdue and Kelvin Sampson of Houston, a former Indiana coach, were among 4 finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year award announced on Monday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
The other men’s coaches in line for the award were Marquette’s Shaka Smart, and Jerome Tang of Kansas State.
Painter seeks to join Carolyn Peck (1999 Coach of the Year) and Glenn Robinson (1994 Player of the Year) as the only other Boilermaker winners of a Naismith award.
Painter led the Boilermakers to a 29-7 overall record this season and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 27 years. Purdue lost on Friday night to 16-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson, 63-58, as the first No. 1 seed to lose in the NCAA Tournament. Painter coached Purdue to the school’s 25th regular-season Big Ten Championship and second-ever Big Ten Tournament title
After his team started the season unranked, the Painter and the Boilermakers were ranked No. 1 in just 34 days in November, the quickest ascent to No. 1 in AP Poll history. They were ranked No. 1 in the country for a nation’s-best 7 weeks during the year.
The Boilermakers have achieved their most success away from Mackey Arena, posting a 15-3 record in road and neutral site games. Painter was also named the Associated Press’ Co-Coach of the Year in the Big Ten Conference.
Sampson led UH to a nation-best 33-3 record to tie the school record for single-season wins as well as tying for the best single-season record in league play at 17-1 and winning the conference by 4 games over Memphis. Houston will play Miami on Friday in the Sweet 16.
Smart led the Golden Eagles to their first-ever outright Big East title and fourth title all-time. The Eagles fell to Michigan State on Sunday.
Tang has led K-State to a 26-9 record, one the program’s best in the last 50 seasons. The Wildcats play Michigan State on Thursday in the Sweet 16.