LOGAN, Utah –Utah State men’s basketball coach Stew Morrill continued to receive national attention Wednesday as he was named one of 16 finalists for the 2011 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award. Joining Morrill as finalists for the award are Mike Brey (Notre Dame), Rick Byrd (Belmont), Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh), Billy Donavan (Florida), Steve Fisher (San Diego State), Greg Kampe (Oakland), Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Steve Lavin (St. John’s), Thad Matta (Ohio State), Sean Miller (Arizona), Matt Painter (Purdue), Rick Pitino (Louisville), Dave Rose (BYU), Bill Self (Kansas) and Roy Williams (North Carolina). Morrill was also named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for the third-straight season and that National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 6 Coach of the Year for the second year in a row in 2011 after leading Utah State to its fourth-straight regular season WAC title with a 15-1 league mark to go along with its second WAC Tournament Championship in the last three years. USU finished the year with a school-record tying 30 wins and and played in its third-straight NCAA Tournament. Its 30-4 end of season record this year is the best in school history. As a collegiate head coach, Morrill has been named conference coach of the year six times, winning the award in 1991 while at Montana, in 2000 and 2002 when Utah State was a member of the Big West Conference, and 2009, 2010 and 2011 as a member of the WAC. During Morrill’s tenure, Utah State has won at least a share of seven regular season league titles to go along with six tournament championships. Utah State also owns the nation’s fourth-best winning percentage during the last 12 years (.774), and has posted 12 straight 23-win seasons and advanced to 12 straight postseasons (8-NCAA, 4-NIT), both of which are school records. Morrill, who just completed his 13th year at Utah State and 25th season as a collegiate head coach, has a 324-103 (.759) record with the Aggies and a 542-241 (.692) overall mark. Among active Division I coaches, Morrill ranks 18th in the nation in wins and 26th in winning percentage. He is also one of just 18 active coaches with 500 career victories and one of just 10 active coaches to post 20 or more wins at least 16 times. The winner of the 2011 Jim Phelan Coach of the Year Award will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com awards banquet on Friday, April 1 in Houston, Texas, site of the men’s basketball championship. -USU-
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