Gonzaga Bulldogs head coach Mark Few was recently named a semifinalist for the 2020 Naismith Coach of the Year. He is one of 10 coaches to receive the honor.
It is a recognition of the work Mark Few has done for a highly ranked team in the preseason that had some rather large question marks coming into the season. Even though the Zags started the year with the second-highest ranking in school history, they also lost nearly 80 percent of the minutes from last season.
Few has skillfully managed a tight ship that often has run even tighter due to injures. Killian Tillie started the season on the bench. Freshman Anton Watson, who was expected to play a big role, is out for the season with a shoulder injury. All that has translated into a team that boasts the best offense in the country, is 29-2, and is ranked No. 2 by Ken Pomeroy.
Like all good coaching awards, you can make a case for pretty much everyone on the list. Eight of the 10 nominees are looking for their first win, including Patrick Chambers (Penn State), Scott Drew (Baylor), Brian Dutcher (San Diego State), Anthony Grant (Dayton), Leonard Hamilton (Florida State), Greg McDermott (Creighton), Bruce Pearl (Auburn), and Mark Pope (BYU). John Calipari won the award three times, in 1996*, 2008*, and in 2015. Mark Few won the award without any asterisks in 2017.
The semifinalists will be narrowed to four finalists on March 18 and the final award will be presented on April 5.