Arizona's Tommy Lloyd named AP Coach of the Year
Tommy Lloyd has his third Coach of the Year honor this week.
On Friday in New Orleans, the Associated Press announced that Lloyd, the first-year head coach who led Arizona to a 33-4 record and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament this season, has been named the 2022 National Coach of the Year.
— Arizona Basketball (@ArizonaMBB) April 1, 2022
Lloyd is the first Arizona men’s basketball coach to earn the honor from the AP, which awarded the inaugural Coach of the Year honor in 1967. He received 28 votes from the 61-person media panel that votes on the AP Top 25. Providence’s Ed Cooley got 21 votes. No other coach got more than three.
So far this week, Lloyd has been named Coach of the Year by the AP, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), and the US Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). The last Pac-12 coach to win all three in the same season was Ralph Miller at Oregon State in 1981.
Though they saw the journey end at the Sweet 16, this year’s team was magical and historic. The 33 wins the ‘Cats enjoyed marked the third-most in program history. As a team, Arizona set new program records for assists and blocked shots. Christian Koloko tied the single-season mark for blocks by an individual player (102) and earned Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-12. Guard Bennedict Mathurin was a consensus All-American and the Pac-12’s Player of the Year. Arizona also took the Sixth Man of the Year award (Pelle Larsson) and placed three on the all-conference first team (Mathurin, Koloko, and Azuolas Tubelis) while Dalen Terry earned a spot on the All-Defensive Team in the Pac-12.
Lloyd was also the league’s coach of the year after guiding the Wildcats to both the regular-season league title and the conference tournament championship.
Per the AP, Lloyd joins Indiana State’s Bill Hodges in 1979 and Drake’s Keno Davis in 2008 as coaches to earn AP Coach of the Year in their first season as a head coach.
“All these individual accomplishments are program awards,” he told the AP of the honor. “I wouldn’t have been able to be in this position if it weren’t for a great group of guys I was coaching. When we started in the summer, I could see some potential, but I couldn’t forecast what was gonna happen. As we got into the fall and then we got into some of those early-season games and got on the court with other teams, I felt like we really had something. The guys get a ton of credit. They were hungry and they took advice from a first-year head coach and they believed in it wholly and did an amazing job of just doing what we asked them to do.”
This season, Arizona became just the third school to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament under a first-year coach. (The tourney began conventional seeding in 1979.) Lloyd also sits behind only North Carolina’s Bill Guthridge (1998) for most wins in a season by a first-year head coach.
“I thanked these guys after the game,” Lloyd said following the team’s Sweet 16 loss to Houston last week. “They really helped me get Arizona basketball off to a good start in my tenure.
“We really built some foundational pieces that are really going to serve us well going forward. Extremely proud of the guys. Extremely proud of the coaching staff.”