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Close Named Top-15 Finalist for Naismith Coach of the Year

Feb 17, 2021
Cori Close (photo by Carlie Heuple)

Naismith Release

Atlanta, Ga. – The Michael Price Family UCLA Women's Head Basketball Coach Cori Close has been named to the late season watch list for the Werner Ladder Naismith Women's Coach of the Year award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Tuesday.
 
Close was one of 15 head coaches to be named a top-15 finalist for women's coach of the year recognition. She joined Arizona's Adia Barnes and Stanford's Tara VanDerveer among the Pac-12's honorees, as the Pac-12 tied for the most coaches on the list with the Big Ten and SEC.
 
Close has led the Bruins to a 12-3 overall record and 10-3 mark in Pac-12 play this season. It's the Bruins' sixth-straight season with at least 10 wins in Conference play. Among UCLA's victories this season are three wins against ranked opponents, including a road 73-71 victory over then-No. 7 Oregon that snapped the Ducks' 27-game winning-streak (Jan. 3). The win over Oregon also extended the Bruins' streak of defeating a top-10 opponent in each of the last six years. Close also led UCLA to a victory over then-No. 5 Stanford, knocking off the Cardinal, 70-66, in Santa Cruz, Calif.
 
Close, who is in her 10th year at the helm of UCLA's program, made history earlier in the season, as the Bruins' road victory against Arizona State (Dec. 9) marked her 200th-career win. She became only the third coach in program history to achieve the milestone, following Billie Moore (296-181) and Kathy Olivier (232-208). Close currently boasts a 210-107 record and her .662 winning percentage ranks highest among those in the program's 200-win club.  
 
Werner Ladder Naismith Women's Coach of the Year Late Season Watch List
Geno Auriemma, UConn
Adia Barnes, Arizona
Kim Barnes Arico, Michigan
Gary Blair, Texas A&M
Mike Cary, West Virginia
Cori Close, UCLA
Jose Fernandez, USF
Brenda Frese, Maryland
Aaron Johnston, South Dakota State
Kevin McGruff, Ohio State
Wes Moore, North Carolina State
Dawn Staley, South Carolina
Tara VanDerveer, Stanford
Jeff Walz, Louisville