K-State Head coach Jerome Tang has been selected as the winner of the 2023 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year, as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club at its annual Final Four Awards Brunch at the Ballroom at Bayou Place in Houston, Texas on Sunday (April 2).
Tang was chosen for the award over a finalist list that included Purdue’s Matt Painter, Houston’s Kelvin Sampson and Marquette’s Shaka Smart.
Tang was the runner-up for The Associated Press’ National Coach of the Year, finishing with 13 votes behind Smart, who garnered 24 from a national media panel of 58 voters
Tang becomes the first K-State head coach to earn the Naismith coaching honor and just the third to be selected as National Coach of the Year, joining Fred “Tex” Winter who was chosen for the honor by United Press International (UPI) in 1958 and Jack Hartman who was named the NABC Coach of the Year in 1980.
Overall, Tang is just the fourth head coach at a Big 12 institution to earn the Naismith coaching accolade since it was first awarded in 1987, joining a trio of Kansas head coaches in Larry Brown (1988), Roy Williams (1997) and Bill Self (2012). He is one of three current Big 12 coaches to have won the award, joining Self and TCU’s Jaime Dixon, who was selected for the honor while at Pittsburgh in 2009.
“I’m honored and blessed to receive the Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year Award,” said Tang. “There have been a lot of great coaching jobs this season and to be recognized among them is truly a humbling experience for me. I want to congratulate the other finalists – Coach (Matt) Painter, Coach (Kelvin) Sampson, Coach (Shaka) Smart for their tremendous years.
“I want to first thank my Lord and savior Jesus Christ for all the blessings in my life. I would not be where I’m at right now if it wasn’t for his faithfulness in my life and guidance.
“There are so many people to mention who have put me in this position. I want to thank our players and staff. I can’t begin to express my appreciation to them for all their hard work and sacrifice this season. We started with Markquis (Nowell) and Ish (Massoud) and it grew to 15 players who became brothers on and off the court, enabling us to go from a team picked last in the Big 12 to one who won 26 games and advanced to the Elite Eight. I will always be indebted to them.
“I have the best coaching staff in America, from associate head coach Ulric Maligi to assistant coaches Jareem Dowling and Rodney Perry to my chief of staff Marco Borne to director of operations Bailey Bachamp to director of player development Austin Carpenter to director of video operations Anthony Winchester, director of strategies Kevin Sutton, volunteer analyst Al Grushkin, strength coach Phil Baier, athletic trainer Luke Sauber to all of our graduate assistant and student managers. I’m blessed and honored that I get to live life with these incredible men and women every day.
“I also want to thank our university president Dr. Richard Linton, athletic director Gene Taylor and executive associate AD Casey Scott for giving me the opportunity to be at K-State. I’m fortunate every day to be at such a special place. I’m excited about the future with their support.
“I’m not here today without the love, support and sacrifice of my family. I want to thank my parents, Paul and Bano Tang, my brother Mark, sister Kim, my wife, Careylyen, our children Seven and Aylyn as well as my in-loves, Calvin and Carolyn Carter.
“I have been fortunate to be around quality people throughout my life. Dr. Jennifer Cooper gave me my first coaching job back at Heritage Christian Academy. Scott (Drew) gave me the opportunity to coach in college at Baylor, where I was influenced by coaches like Matthew Driscoll, Paul Mills, Grant McCasland, Alvin Brooks III, John Jakus and Bill Petersen and countless players.
“I share this tremendous honor with all these individuals. I’m truly blessed.”