By AJ Nelson, WHoopDirt.com staff writer
Congratulations to the following coaches who have been selected as the Week 3 WHoopDirt.com Coach of the Week presented by Pivot Analysis. These coaches are now eligible to receive the WHoopDirt.com National Coach of the Year Award presented by Pivot Analysis which will be announced at the conclusion of the 2019-20 college basketball season.
To nominate coaches for future weeks, please email [email protected] with your selection(s).
Previous weekly winners can be found below this week’s recipients.
The Week 3 winners are:
NCAA DI: Karl Smesko – Florida Gulf Coast University
Coach Smesko guided Florida Gulf Coast to three huge wins on the way to the Cancun Challenge title. On Thanksgiving, the Eagles took down reigning national runner-up Notre Dame 69-60. This marked Notre Dame’s first loss to a mid-major since 2011. FGCU built on the momentum from this stunner in the semifinals of the tournament, defeating No. 20 South Florida 81-77 – just their fourth all-time victory over a ranked opponent. These wins set up a matchup with South Dakota State in the championship game on Saturday. The Eagles used a big final quarter to come back from down seven at the end of the third and take a 72-71 victory and the title. Now 8-1 on the season and sitting just outside the top-25, FGCU is back in action on Wednesday at Houston.
NCAA DII: Steve Gomez – Lubbock Christian University
7-0 on the season, Coach Gomez’s top-ranked Lubbock Christian squad took two victories at the St. Mary’s Thanksgiving Classic in San Antonio this week. In the first game of the Classic, the Lady Chaps entered the fourth quarter trailing 33-28 to Southern Nazarene, who has received votes in the latest D2SIDA poll. A huge final 10 minutes saw LCU come away with a 56-47 victory. Another team receiving top-25 votes, Central Oklahoma, was the next challenger to LCU’s undefeated record. It took overtime, but the Lady Chaps left San Antonio still without a loss, knocking off UCO 68-63. They will put their No. 1 ranking on the line Thursday in a conference showdown with Texas Woman’s University.
NCAA DIII: Meg Barber – New York University
Coach Barber and NYU used an impressive 2-0 week to move to 6-1 on the season. The Violets led wire to wire in a dominant 103-50 victory over Baruch on Wednesday before heading to Connecticut on Sunday to take on Wesleyan in a battle of two unbeaten teams. Trailing 62-54 at the end of the third quarter, NYU fought back to force overtime, where they were able to remain undefeated and come away with a hard-fought 93-91 win over a tough opponent. The Violets will look to stay hot and win their third straight game on Saturday at home against St. John Fisher.
NAIA: Jeff Hans – Thomas More University
In the program’s first season at the NAIA level after winning the NCAA DIII National Championship last season, Coach Hans has Thomas More off to a 6-0 start that includes two dominant victories this week. The Saints knocked off Ohio-Chillicothe by a score of 115-26 on the first day of the Julie Costello Memorial Classic on Friday before scoring even more points the following day. Thomas More shot 61% from the field on a way to a 121-47 defeat of Miami-Hamilton on Saturday to remain unbeaten. Having opened the season ranked No. 21, the Saints will likely move up once the first poll is released on December 4th. They travel to take on the Cumberlands in the conference opener tonight.
JUCO: Cayla Petree – South Plains College
Following up upon last year’s Elite Eight appearance, Coach Petree and No. 2 South Plains have begun the season 10-0 thanks to two more wins this week. At the College of Southern Idaho Thanksgiving Classic, the Lady Texans defeated Snow College 66-46 on Friday. South Plains then faced off against the hosts on Saturday in what would be their toughest match-up to date. After jumping out to a 31-8 lead, the Lady Texans found themselves in a tie game with one second to go. Freshman Ka’Lia Smith knocked down a game-winning layup to give South Plains a 71-70 victory and preserve their undefeated record. The Lady Texans will look to move to 11-0 in the conference opener on Wednesday against Howard College.
2019-20 HoopDirt.com / Pivot Analysis Coach of the Week Winners
NCAA DI: Dawn Staley – University of South Carolina
NCAA DII: Justin Payne – Georgia Southwestern State University
NCAA DIII: Melissa Kuberka – St. John Fisher College (NY)
NAIA: Courtney Boyd – Clarke University (IA)
JUCO: Bart Walker – Northwest Florida State College
NCAA DI: Dawn Plitzuweit – University of South Dakota
NCAA DII: Lynsey Warren – Ohio Dominican University
NCAA DIII: Kristina Baugh – UMass-Boston
NAIA: Dan Waldeck – The Master’s University (CA)
JUCO: Mark Leszczyk – Massasoit Community College (MA)
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