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Kevin Johnson Emerges as Contender for Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year

Updated: Mar 27

Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson

BOSTON, MA -- The field narrows as the 2023-24 Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year award reveals its 25 finalists. Recognizing excellence in minority head coaching within Division I college basketball, this esteemed honor spotlights leaders making impactful strides in the sport.

Among the contenders stands Kevin Johnson, who assumed the role of 15th head coach in program history on March 29, 2023. In his inaugural season at the helm of the Jaguars, Johnson orchestrated a notable turnaround, guiding the team to 18 victories, the highest tally since the 2016 campaign. His achievement marks him as just the sixth head coach in SU history to secure 17 wins or more in their debut season.

Notably, Coach Johnson distinguished himself as the sole SWAC coach during the 2023-24 season to vanquish a top #25 ranked team (#21 Mississippi State on 12/3/23) and clinch a quadrant 1 victory. Additionally, triumphing over (UNLV on 11/8/23), he claimed a quadrant 2 win, culminating in the highest net rankings within the conference at 256. The team clinched a commendable 3rd place in the SWAC regular season and earned national recognition in the NCAA rankings, ranking 8th in turnovers forced per game at 16.50, 13th in steals per game at 9.1, 37th in bench points per game at 26.6, 48th in turnover margin 2.2, 77th in three-point percentage defense 31.8%, and 78th in scoring defense 68.7.

The Ben Jobe award, named in honor of one of the most esteemed coaches in Historically Black Colleges and Universities basketball history, pays tribute to Coach Jobe's illustrious legacy. Renowned for his tenure as head coach of Southern University, where he amassed a record of 209-141 over 12 seasons, Coach Jobe left an indelible mark on the sport. His accolades include four NCAA Tournament appearances, one NIT appearance, five SIAC championships, 11 SWAC titles, and two NAIA Tournament Championships. A defining moment in his career was orchestrating Southern University's stunning upset of No. 4 Georgia Tech as a No. 13 seed in the 1993 NCAA Tournament.

The recipient of this prestigious award is determined by a 10-member voting committee comprising current and former head coaches, alongside two senior staff members of collegeinsider.com.

The announcement of the 2024 Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year award is scheduled to take place in Phoenix, AZ, coinciding with the men's Division I Basketball Championship.


2024 BEN JOBE AWARD FINALISTS

Amir Abdur-Rahim - South Florida Tony Barbee - Central Michigan Kenny Blakeney - Howard Alvin Brooks - Lamar Craig Claxton - Hofstra Donald Copeland - Wagner Hubert Davis - North Carolina Corey Gipson - Austin Peay Justin Gray - Western Carolina Talvin Hester - Louisiana Tech Donte' Jackson - Grambling Kevin Johnson - Southern James Jones - Yale Mike Jones - UNCG Robert Jones - Norfolk State Erik Martin - South Carolina State Bashir Mason - Saint Peter's Lamont Paris - South Carolina Tevon Saddler - Nicholls Kelvin Sampson - Houston Patrick Sellers - Central Connecticut Shaka Smart - Marquette K.T. Turner - UT Arlington Drew Valentine - Loyola Chicago Darrell Walker - Little Rock

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