MANHATTAN, Kan. — The accolades continue to roll in after a historic men’s basketball season for the Kansas State Wildcats.
On Sunday, head coach Jerome Tang was named the Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year.
The first-year head coach helped take the country by storm by leading the Wildcats to a 26-10 record and the Elite Eight for the first time since 2018 after they were picked to finish last in the conference with only two returning players.
One of those returning players was point guard Markquis Nowell who also was the spotlight of the tournament with his three-point shooting and flashy assists. He won the Bob Cousy Award for being the top point guard in the country.
The 26 wins are the third-most in school history, trailing the school-record 29 in 2009-10 and the 27 in 2012-13, and just the eighth 25-win campaign and first since 2017-18. His win total was the second-most by a first-year Division I head coach, trailing Duke’s Jon Scheyer (27-9).
His openness about his faith, the team mantra ‘Crazy Faith’ and his vulnerability when talking about himself and his players made Tang an easy fan favorite for casual college basketball watchers during the tournament.
Tang is only the fourth head coach at a Big 12 school 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 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,” Tang said in a statement.
“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.”