The success of Arizona’s men’s and women’s basketball programs has wrought many accolades over the years, but one big award still eludes the school: Naismith College Coach of the Year.
That could change in 2022.
UA coaches Tommy Lloyd and Adia Barnes have been named to the Naismith Coach of the Year Late Season Watch List, making Arizona the only school to have both its men’s and women’s coaches on the lists.
Lloyd, in his first year at Arizona, has the men 23-2 entering with six games remaining in the regular season. Lloyd could become the second 1st-year head coach to win Naismith Coach of the Year, joining Bill Guthridge at North Carolina in 1997-98.
Former Arizona coaches Lute Olson and Sean Miller never won the award, despite their many years of success in Tucson.
Lloyd is the sure front-runner for Pac-12 Coach of the Year. Arizona leads the league with 10 conference Coach of the Year awards, seven for Olson and three for Miller, the most recent coming in 2017.
On the women’s side, Barnes has led her team to an 18-4 record with four regular season games remaining after reaching the Final Four for the first time in program history last year. Barnes missed out on the award in 2020-21 to Stanford coach Tara VanDerVeer.
Barnes is also seeking her first-ever Pac-12 Coach of the Year award after losing to VanDerVeer in 2021 and Oregon coach Kelly Graves in 2020.
Naismith Coach of the Year winner are announced in early April during Final Four weekend.