May 21, 2007
NEW YORK - Pat Summitt, coach of the University of Tennessee's NCAA champion women's basketball team, and Billy Donovan, who guided the University of Florida to the men's crown, will receive the New York Athletic Club Winged Foot Award on May 23 at a dinner at the NYAC. The award is presented annually to the coaches of the men's and women's NCAA basketball champions.
New York Athletic Club President Val Taubner said, "Both of our Winged Foot Award winners this year accomplished amazing feats, with Coach Donovan winning in consecutive years, and Coach Summitt guiding Tennessee to its seventh national crown in her incredible 33-year reign as coach."
Summitt's squad beat North Carolina in the semi-finals, 56-50, then topped Rutgers in the championship game, 59-46. This was Summitt's first national title since 1998. The other championships came in 1987, 1989, 1991, and 1996, 1997 and 1998. Summitt is the all-time winningest coach-man or woman-in NCAA basketball history, with 947 victories and only 180 losses (34-3 this season). By comparison, Bobby Knight has the most victories for a men's Division I coach, 58 less than Summitt at 889.
In addition, the Lady Vols under Summitt have made 26 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Sweet 16 and produced 12 Olympians. Summitt has a 100% graduation rate among all Lady Vols who have completed their eligibility. Her entire coaching career has been spent at Tennessee. Summitt graduated from Tennessee-Martin in 1974 and became coach of Tennessee beginning with the 1974-75 season.
Florida became the first men's team to win back-to-back titles since Duke accomplished the feat in 1991-92. In the Final Four, Florida defeated UCLA, 76-66 in the semi-finals, then topped Ohio State 84-75 in the championship game. Florida's balanced team has rightfully been lauded because several players returned this season instead of going on to the NBA.
Donovan starred at St. Agnes High School in Rockville Centre, Long Island and at Providence College, where he played for Rick Pitino. He has a career coaching record of 296-123, and a mark of 261-103 in 11 seasons at Florida (35-5 this season). He has guided the Gators to nine straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Donovan worked as a graduate assistant under Pitino at Kentucky in 1989, became a full-time assistant in 1990 and then became head coach at Marshall in 1994. He began at Florida in 1997.
Past winners of the men's New York Athletic Club Winged Foot Award, in addition to Donovan last year, are: Rick Pitino, Kentucky (1996), Lute Olson, Arizona (1997), Tubby Smith, Kentucky (1998), Jim Calhoun, Connecticut (1999), Tom Izzo, Michigan State (2000), Mike Krzyzewski, Duke (2001), Gary Williams, Maryland (2002), Jim Boeheim, Syracuse (2003), Jim Calhoun, Connecticut (2004) and Roy Williams, North Carolina (2005).
This is the ninth time the women's award has been presented since the NYAC recognition began in 1999. Past winners of the women's award are Carolyn Peck, Purdue (1999), Geno Auriemma, Connecticut (2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004), Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame (2001), Kim Mulkey-Robertson, Baylor (2005) and Brenda Frese, Maryland (2006).