Villanova Wildcats head coach Jay Wright has been named one of ten finalists for the Henry Iba Award, given annually to the National Coach of the Year as voted on by the United States Basketball Writers' Association. For more than forty years, Henry Iba was known as the "Iron Duke of Defense" in the college game. He coached for 36 years at Oklahoma St. (back then known as Oklahoma A&M). He led the school to NCAA championships in 1945 and 1946, and he directed the U.S. Olympic team to two gold medals in 1964 and 1968 and one silver medal in 1972.
The other nine nominees are as follows: John Beilein, Michigan; Tony Bennett, Virginia; Larry Brown, SMU; Jim Crews, Saint Louis; Mick Cronin, Cincinnati; Billy Donovan, Florida; Steve Fisher, San Diego State; Gregg Marshall, Wichita State; and Greg McDermott, Creighton.
Recent recipients of the prestigious award include Jim Larrañaga, Frank Haith, Mike Brey and Jim Boeheim.
No Villanova coach has ever won the award which has been given out each year since 1959. Legendary St. John's Red Storm coach Lou Carnesecca won the award during Villanova's 1985 national championship campaign.