March 19, 2012
COLUMBIA, Mo. - On the heels of a record-setting season which saw the University of Missouri men's basketball team record one of the most successful years in school history, Mizzou Head Coach Frank Haith has been named the recipient of the 2011-12 Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award, presented annually to the National Coach of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
With a roster featuring just seven scholarship players, Haith and his staff guided the Tigers to a 30-5 overall record, marking just the second 30-win season in MU history. Mizzou, picked fourth in the Big 12 Conference pre-season coaches' poll, won a school-record 14 Big 12 games, and finished second in the league standings with a 14-4 conference mark. The Tigers won the school's second Big 12 Tournament Championship with a 3-0 run in Kansas City, before seeing their season end last Friday in the NCAA Tournament.
"I am so unbelievably honored and humbled by this," said Haith. "The award might be in my name, but I look at it as a team award, because this belongs just as much to our kids and our staff as it does to me. The year we had was special because it was touched along the way by so many people that made it possible, and that also includes our administration and our fans. We have a lot to look forward to in the future at Mizzou, but I will always look back at this senior class and be grateful to them for their leadership and their character, which was such a key to our success," he said.
Haith becomes the third Mizzou coach to win national honors, joining former coaches Norm Stewart and Mike Anderson in that group. Stewart twice won national coach of the year honors (1982 [UPI] and 1994 [AP]), while Anderson won the same distinction by the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 2009.
Haith will receive the Henry Iba Award at the USBWA's College Basketball Awards Breakfast held in conjunction with the NCAA Final Four on Friday, March 30th at the New Orleans Marriott at 8 a.m. The Henry Iba Award is named in honor of the legendary Oklahoma State coach who won 655 games and two national championships in 36 seasons in Stillwater. The award is voted on by all members of the USBWA at the conclusion of the regular season. The USBWA has presented a National Coach of the Year Award each year since the 1958-59 season.