BOSTON – Head Coach Willis Wilson of the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team has been named a finalist for the Ben Jobe Award, CollegeInsider.com announced. Wilson led the Islanders to 18 wins and a second-place finish in the Southland this year.
"I'm so honored and humbled to be a finalist for the Ben Jobe Award," Wilson said. "Coach Jobe is one of my mentors in the coaching profession, and to be considered for an award that bears his name brings me such pride. And to be recognized alongside so many outstanding coaches that are also finalists who I know and respect is a tremendous honor."
A&M-Corpus Christi finished with 12 more wins in 2013-14 than it did the previous season, the third biggest turnaround in the nation this year. Only Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Old Dominion (both plus-13) posted more improvement than the Islanders.
The Islanders had the biggest turnaround in the nation within their same conference this year, posting nine more victories in Southland play than the previous season. The Islanders were 5-13 in league play in 2012-13 before posting a 14-4 mark in the conference this year. Utah Valley posted 10 more victories in league play this season, but went from playing eight games (3-5) in the Great West in 2012-13 to 16 (13-3) in the Western Athletic Conference.
Founded in 2010, the Ben Jobe Award is presented annually to the top minority coach in Division I men's basketball. Coach Jobe is an icon in the history of basketball at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He is best known as the head coach of the Southern University, a position he held for 12 seasons. He also coached at Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Talladega, Tuskegee and South Carolina State.
The other finalists include Tommy Amaker (Harvard), Roman Banks (Southern), Johnny Dawkins (Stanford), Ron Hunter (Georgia State), James Jones (Yale), Mike Jones (Radford), Joe Jones (Boston University), Danny Manning (Tulsa), Cuonzo Martin (Tennessee), Rob Murphy (Eastern Michigan), LeVelle Moton (North Carolina Central), Kevin Ollie (Connecticut), Monte Ross (Delaware) and Gary Waters (Cleveland State).
"Any of the finalists would be make a great recipient of the Ben Jobe Award," said CollegeInsider.com's Angela Lento. "This award recognizes class and coaching excellence, which all of the finalists embody."
The winner of the 2014 Jobe Award will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com Awards Banquet on April 4 in Dallas, site of the Division I Men's Basketball Championship.