April 23, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame associate head women's basketball coach Jonathan Tsipis has been named one of 10 finalists for the BasketballScoop.com Coach of the Year honor, the web site announced this week. Tsipis was among the top 10 vote-getters following two weeks of global fan balloting from a group of 20 semifinalists that were originally unveiled last month. The BasketballScoop panel of coaches will choose five award winners from the list of 10 finalists, with the recipients to be announced May 4.
According to the site, the award focuses on the "rising stars of the college basketball coaching profession", the assistant coaches. Each of the original 20 semifinalists was nominated by at least one of their peers, with many nominated by multiple coaches.
Joining Tsipis as a finalist for this season's BasketballScoop Coach of the Year award are two other BIG EAST Conference aides -- Chris Dailey (Connecticut) and Stephanie Norman (Louisville) -- as well as two assistants who currently serve on the staffs of former Notre Dame players or assistant coaches -- Xavier's Mike Neighbors (who works alongside former Irish aide Kevin McGuff) and Virginia Commonwealth's Curt Kassab (an assistant under former two-time Notre Dame All-American and the program's all-time leading scorer, Beth (Morgan) Cunningham).
Rounding out the group of 10 award finalists are: Cori Close (Florida State), Lisa McDonald (Ball State), Jennifer Roos (Bowling Green), Vic Schaefer (Texas A&M) and Jackie Smith Carson (James Madison). Beginning Wednesday, each of the 10 finalists is being profiled daily on the BasketballScoop web site.
Tsipis (last name pronounced SIP-iss) recently completed his sixth season on Muffet McGraw's staff at Notre Dame, and his first as associate head coach with the Fighting Irish. Since his arrival, Tsipis has helped Notre Dame post a 133-58 (.696) record, reaching the NCAA Championship all six years, including Sweet 16 berths in 2004 and 2008. What's more, he is widely recognized as one of the top young strategical minds in the game, having crafted scouting reports and game plans for 13 of Notre Dame's wins over nationally-ranked opponents in the past five seasons, including all five victories in 2008-09 (LSU, Michigan State, Purdue, Vanderbilt and DePaul).
In addition, Tsipis has developed a strong track record with regard to player development. He has worked with two-time All-America wings and WNBA Draft picks Jacqueline Batteast ('05) and Charel Allen ('08), and this past season, he helped tutor first-team all-BIG EAST Conference guard Lindsay Schrader.
Tsipis has been an integral part of Notre Dame's nationally-ranked recruiting efforts throughout his tenure, including his current role as the program's recruiting coordinator. The Irish have attracted 13 consecutive top 20 recruiting classes, with next year's incoming class ranked as high as seventh in the country by All-Star Girls Report.
"Our program has been so successful through the years because of the tremendous chemistry we've been able to develop between our players and staff," McGraw said. "Jonathan has played an important role in helping to build and sustain that chemistry, through his passion for the game, his dedication to the growth of our players on the court and in the classroom, and his attention to detail in our game scouting and recruiting efforts. We are all so pleased to learn that he's been chosen as a finalist for this award."
Notre Dame posted a 22-9 record this season, earning its 14th consecutive NCAA Championship appearance and 16th in program history, while also finishing 23rd in the Associated Press poll. The Fighting Irish will return all 12 players from this year's squad (including all-conference guards Schrader and Ashley Barlow), while adding two talented incoming freshmen -- guards Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind./Washington HS) and Kaila Turner (Joliet, Ill./Marian Catholic HS) -- to the mix.