LOS ANGELES, CA – The John R. Wooden Award, widely known as the most coveted individual honor in men’s and women’s college basketball, today announced three new members to its Board of Governors and one new member to its National Advisory Board. Coaches Ernie Kent of the University of Oregon, Kelvin Sampson from Oklahoma University and Mark Gottfried from the University of Alabama joined the Board of Governors, while Robyn Norwood of the Los Angeles Times joined the Advisory Board.
“The addition of prominent and influential people like Ernie, Kelvin, Mark and Robyn to our boards brings even more prestige and honor to the Wooden Award,” said Duke Llewellyn, Wooden Award chairman. “We’re honored that these experts who represent the elite of basketball coaching and reporting have agreed to join the Wooden Award team.”
The Board of Governors, which is made up of the nation’s top men’s college basketball coaches, advises Wooden Award staff on all matters relating to basketball. Current members include Chairman John Wooden and Vice Chairman Dean Smith, as well as members Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun, Tom Izzo, Gene Keady, Mike Krzyzewski, Lute Olson, Tubby Smith and Roy Williams.
The National Advisory Board, composed of many of the nation’s top sportswriters and sportscasters, is responsible for selecting the top 20 Wooden Award candidates prior to the NCAA Tournament. These candidates are then placed on the Wooden Award ballot, which is sent to over 1,000 Wooden Award voters nationwide. The top 10 vote recipients are named to the All-American Team, and the top vote recipient becomes the Wooden Award Player of the Year.
Ernie Kent, the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Oregon, has coached across the world including a seven year stint in Saudi Arabia; time as an assistant at Colorado State; assistant coaching alongside Mike Montgomery at Stanford; and serving as head coach at St. Mary’s University. In 1997 the University of Oregon hired Kent, who led Oregon to the NCAA tournament in 2000 and the outright Pac-10 title in 2002, marking the school’s first conference championship since 1939. After an Elite 8 appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2002, Kent led the Ducks to another 20 win season and second straight NCAA appearance in 2003.
Oklahoma University head men’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson has coached a plethora of teams across the country during his successful coaching tenure. He spent five seasons as head coach at Montana Tech, followed by an assistant coaching position with Washington State. During the 1989-90′ season, Sampson took over the helm of the Cougars and quickly turned the WSU program into a perennial Pacific 10 contender en route to winning two Kodak District 14 Coach of the Year awards as well as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year award for the 1991-’92 season. In 1994, after seven seasons at Washington State, Sampson moved on to Oklahoma University. In 10 seasons coaching the Sooners, Sampson carries an outstanding 234-91 overall record.
Mark Gottfried has been the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Alabama since 1998. Gottfried began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant at UCLA where he served under Coach Jim Herrick for seven years. After UCLA, he took on the head coaching responsibilities at Murray State University before moving to Alabama in 1998. Gottfriend’s highlights include coaching 17 players who have advanced to the NBA, including one collegiate and two high school National Players of the Year. Gottfried has also coached 13 Academic All-Conference players.
Robyn Norwood has been at the Los Angeles Times for 18 years and is the current president of the United States Basketball Writers Association. In addition to covering the national college basketball scene, she also has covered college football, the NFL, the NHL and two Olympics, handling the Times’ coverage of men’s and women’s basketball at the 2000 Games in Sydney. She and her husband, Orange County Register sports columnist Mark Whicker, have one son, Philip.
The Wooden Award Scholarship Fund was established in 2002 by Applied Materials and corporate partners through the California Community Foundation (CCF) to honor Coach Wooden’s dedication as an educator and mentor. Applied Materials distributed $15,000 last year to each university represented by a Wooden Award All-American Team finalist (St. Joseph’s, Connecticut, Duke, Stanford and Mississippi State) for a total of $75,000. Additional donations to Applied Materials’ John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund can be made by contacting the scholarship fund through the CCF (www.calfund.org).
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his university that he is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Michael Jordan (’84), Larry Bird (’79), Tim Duncan (’97) and last year’s recipient, Jameer Nelson (’04).