UNC Basketball: Hubert Davis named Coach of the Year

First-year UNC basketball head coach Hubert Davis has been named Coach of the Year by the National Sports Media Association.

Hubert Davis has been named the Clarence “Big House” Gaines College Basketball Coach of the Year by the National Sports Media Association.

Davis was named the recipient of the prestigious award on Wednesday, recognizing head coaches in NCAA Divisions I and II, who may not earn recognition from mainstream outlets. The award is voted on by an NSMA committee at the conclusion of the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments and presented to the winners at the annual NSMA Awards Banquet.

Davis, a former player at the University of North Carolina and assistant coach for nine seasons under Hall-of-Famer Roy Williams, led his team to 29 victories and an appearance in the National Championship Game in his first season at the helm in Chapel Hill. After beginning the season with a 12-6 record, the Tar Heels won 11 of their final 13 games of the season and earned a 3-seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

Merely a bubble team in the closing weeks of the regular season — largely because of their obvious struggles through the non-conference portion of their schedule and a weak slate of ACC opponents — Davis’ mercurial UNC squad handily beat the Duke Blue Devils in Coach K’s final home game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, setting the stage for an impressive run through the NCAA Tournament.

The Tar Heels took down the ninth-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles by 32 points prior to an upset of the top-seeded Baylor Bears in the Round of 32. Then, they beat the East Region’s No. 4 seed, the UCLA Bruins, and followed that up with a win over the tournament’s Cinderalla sweetheart team, the Saint Peter’s Peacocks. That set the Tar Heels up with another date with the Blue Devils in the Final Four, which North Carolina again won, sending Coach K into retirement a few days earlier than he wanted.

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