MANHATTAN, Kan. (K-State Athletics) – Head coach Jerome Tang was named one of 25 finalists for the 2023 Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year Award, which is annually given to the top Division I minority coach, on Tuesday (March 7).
The award is named for Jobe, an icon in the history of basketball at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. A former head coach at Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Talladega, Tuskegee and South Carolina State, Jobe is best known for his 12-year stint as the head coach at Southern, where he led the Jaguars to 209 wins and four NCAA Tournament appearances. His team knocked off No. 2 seed Georgia Tech in the 1993 NCAA Tournament.
Tang is joined on the high-major list by Pittsburgh’s Jeff Capel, Providence’s Ed Cooley, Missouri’s Dennis Gates, Memphis’ Anfernee Hardaway, Houston’s Kelvin Sampson, Marquette’s Shaka Smart, Vanderbilt’s Jerry Stackhouse, Texas’ Rodney Terry and Indiana’s Mike Woodson.
Others included as finalists, include Kennesaw State’s Amir Abdur-Rahim, Rider’s Kevin Baggett, Howard’s Kenneth Blakeney, Alcorn State’s Landon Bussie, Hofstra’s Speedy Claxton, UMES’ Jason Crafton, Northwestern State’s Corey Gipson, Grambling’s Donte’ Jackson, Yale’s James Jones, UNCG’s Mike Jones, Norfolk State’s Robert Jones, Liberty’s Ritchie McKay, North Carolina Central’s LeVelle Moton, Cleveland State’s Daniyal Robinson and UNCW’s Takayo Siddle.
The winner of the award will be announced at the Final Four in Houston.
Picked 10th in the preseason Big 12 poll and armed with just two returning players, Tang has guided the Wildcats to 23 wins so far this season and a tie for third place with an 11-7 record in the nation’s toughest conference. His 23-8 record currently ties Gates, Xavier’s Sean Miller and Duke’s Jon Scheyer for the best mark by a first-year Division I head coach this season. His 23 wins tie Bob Huggins for the second-most by a first-year head coach in school history, while he is the fifth K-State head coach to win 20 games in his first season.
On Sunday, Tang became the seventh head coach in school history to earn conference Coach of the Year honors, including the third in the Big 12 era (joining Frank Martin and Bruce Weber). He joins Bruce Weber (2013) as the only coaches to be chosen for the distinction in their first seasons.
K-State has clinched a bye to the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship as the No. 3 seed and will play No. 6 seed and No. 22/22 TCU (20-11, 9-9 Big 12) at 8:30 p.m., CT on Thursday, March 9.