MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Final Four is a huge weekend for the biggest names in college basketball, and not just the ones playing in the games. Most of the sport’s movers and shakers are here this weekend.
On Sunday, most of them were under one roof. David McCoy takes us inside the National Association of Basketball Coaches annual awards show.
It was one of college basketball’s biggest nights with college basketball’s biggest names.
Awards were presented to Tom Izzo, honored for his longtime service to the sport; Matt Painter as Division I coach of the year; and Duke’s freshman sensation Zion Williamson, who took home D-1 player of the year and freshman of the year honors.
Some of the same guys you see excelling in the smaller gyms right here in Minnesota were right alongside them.
Minneapolis North coach Larry McKenzie was given the Guardians of the Game Award for Education, an honor he was so humbled by he was almost speechless afterward.
“It just tells me that the work that I’m doing is valuable, and there’s no greater recognition than getting recognized by your peers. And to receive an award like this, it’s just amazing,” McKenzie said.
Crosby-Ironton coach Dave Galovich was honored with the Outstanding High School Coach award – he’s been doing it 41 years.
“It’s overwhelming. I mean, to be on a stage with the college players and the college coaches that you look up to and idolize – it’s amazing,” Galovich said.
Augsburg’s Booker Coplin was named Division III player of the year for the way the Shakopee native electrified gymnasiums all over the place this past season.
“You know, you’re heart’s racing, and I’m sitting there before the show and I see all these big names … it’s just really exciting. I’ll probably remember this forever,” Coplin said.
There was even a tie-in with a former Minnesotan. Tubby Smith was honored for reaching 600 career wins this season, many of which, of course, came with the Gophers.
“Six years of your life was spent here, so it’s good to be back here and to be honored,” Smith said.
All in all, yet another way this has been a week to remember for Minnesota at the Final Four. The NABC has a membership of nearly 5,000 coaches at all levels. It holds its convention every year during the Final Four.