May 4, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame associate head women's basketball coach Jonathan Tsipis is one of five Division I assistants from around the country who have been chosen as the 2008-09 recipients of the BasketballScoop.com Coach of the Year honor, the web site announced Monday. Tsipis was selected from the list of 10 finalists, who were determined by two weeks of global fan balloting from a group of 20 semifinalists that were originally unveiled last month. The BasketballScoop panel of coaches then chose the five recipients for the inaugural awards, which recognize those assistant coaches who are some of the best in the business as determined by their peers.
"I'm honored and grateful to be selected for this award from such a worthy group of finalists, especially since it's chosen by my fellow coaches, from the nominating process all the way to the final selection," Tsipis said. "As with any award, it's a reflection of the entire staff and all of the student-athletes in our program. I'm very fortunate to work for a great university where we strive for excellence on the floor and in the classroom, while recruiting high-caliber people."
Joining Tsipis as a recipient of this season's BasketballScoop Coach of the Year award were: Mike Neighbors (Xavier), Jennifer Roos (Bowling Green), Vic Schaefer (Texas A&M) and Jackie Smith Carson (James Madison). The honorees were evaluated and chosen based on their performance in recruiting, player development, team development/scouting, leadership and administration.
Due to the overwhelming talent within this year's crop of finalists, a second team of honorees also was announced. Those second-team selections were: Cori Close (Florida State), Chris Dailey (Connecticut), Curt Kassab (Virginia Commonwealth), Lisa McDonald (Ball State) and Stephanie Norman (Louisville).
"The best part about these awards is that the process is entirely driven by coaches," said Scott Roussel, President of BasketballScoop. "To even be considered for the awards each coach had to have been nominated by another coach in the game. The winners were then selected by a panel of current head and assistant coaches. Each finalist is extremely well thought of in the profession and we have received nothing but positive feedback about the awards and each coach."
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.
"Jonathan knows somebody everywhere we go and he is highly respected by other coaches and players," McGraw said. "He really enjoys recruiting and excels at player development. In addition, he is very organized and thorough and prepares the team very well for upcoming opponents. His basketball mind never stops working. There are a lot of games that we would not have won without Jonathan's insight and hard work."
"It's a honor to work for Coach McGraw," Tsipis added. "She has given me the opportunity to make many head coaching decisions in my role as the associate head coach, and she is a great mentor who allows me to grow each season."
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.