ATLANTA – Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl has been selected as a semifinalist for the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Friday.
Pearl is one of 10 coaches in contention for the annual award and is joined by Rick Barnes of Tennessee as the only coaches represented from the Southeastern Conference.
Picked to finish ninth in the preseason league poll, Pearl has led the Tigers to the top of the SEC behind a 24-4 record with three regular season games remaining. The 24 wins are tied for the second-most in program history.
Under Pearl - the 2006 National Coach of the Year - Auburn was ranked for the first time since 2003 when it cracked the Associated Press Top 25 Poll Jan. 8. The Tigers have stayed ranked for seven consecutive weeks, something that has not been accomplished since 2000, achieving their highest ranking at No. 8.
Pearl is accompanied by Chris Beard (Texas Tech), Tony Bennett (Virginia), Brad Brownell (Clemson), Mick Cronin (Cincinnati), Chris Holtmann (Ohio State), Chris Mack (Xavier), Matt Painter (Purdue), Jay Wright (Villanova) and the aforementioned Barnes.
Using this list of 10, the Naismith Awards master voting academy will identify the four finalists, to be announced on March 15.
Fans will be able to vote for their favorite coach by visiting naismithtrophy.com/vote between March 19-30 to cast their ballot, which will account for five percent of the final tally.
The Werner Ladder Naismith Trophy for Men’s College Coach of the Year will be announced on during the Naismith Awards brunch April 1 at Pearl Stable in San Antonio, Texas.