Kevin Ollie is a finalist for a prestigious national award – the Joe B. Hall Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top first-year coach.
The other finalists are Kevin Baggett of Rider, Jamion Christian of Mount St. Mary’s, Mike Martin of Brown, Bashir Mason of Wagner, Dan Muller of Illinois State, Jack Perri of LIU-Brooklyn, Richard Pitino of Florida International, Nick Robinson of Southern Utah and Travis Williams of Tennessee State.
Ollie, 40, taking over for Jim Calhoun on the eve of the season, coached a roster depleted by transfers and NBA entries, and he has squeezed 19 wins out of the Huskies, and nine in the Big East, surpassing their totals of last season. And Ollie held together a team with no postseason prize at stake.
The award is named for Hall, who took over for Adolph Rupp and went 20-8 in his first season at Kentucky.
The award will be presented on April 5 in Atlanta, during the Final Four week.