INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) Mark Few, who takes his undefeated Gonzaga team into the NCAA Tournament as the top overall seed, joins Scott Drew of Baylor and Juwan Howard of Michigan, two other No. 1 seeds, and Alabama·s Nate Oats as the four finalists for the Henry Iba Award, given annually by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association to its national coach of the year. All four coaches guided their programs to regular-season conference championships and two of them to conference tournament titles.

Few won the Henry Iba Award in 2017 following a 32-1 regular season and will try to become just the ninth coach to win the award multiple times. Drew, Howard and Oats would be first-time winners. The award is based on regular-season performance and the winner of the award will be announced on Friday.

Few has coached the Bulldogs from the top spot in the national polls all season and led Gonzaga to its first unbeaten regular season in program history (26-0) with a ninth straight West Coach Conference regular-season title. He earned his 14th WCC Coach of the Year honor and this week also garnered the USBWA District IX Coach of the Year honor. Gonzaga placed four players on the All-WCC First Team and three Bulldogs Corey Kispert, Jalen Suggs and Drew Timme · are USBWA All-Americans contending for multiple national honors. Joel Ayayi was the other all-conference player, marking the fourth time in WCC history for one team to have four first team members. Gonzaga, also the WCC Tournament champion, has won 25 or more games in 14 consecutive seasons and faces either Norfolk State or Appalachian State in the NCAA Tournament·s first round Friday.

Howard is in his second season as head coach at Michigan following a 25-year career in the NBA, 19 as a player and six as an assistant coach. The District V Coach of the Year led Michigan (20-4) to its first Big Ten regular-season title since 2014 and the Wolverines are the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournaments East Region, taking on either Mount St. Mary·s or Texas Southern in the first round Friday. Michigan jumped out to an 11-0 start for a second straight season, and Howard·s 39 wins in his first two seasons make him the winningest Michigan coach through two seasons, passing his Steve Fisher (37). Johnny Orr is Michigan·s only previous Henry Iba Award winner in the 1975-76 season.

Drew earned the Big 12 Coach of the Year honor for a second consecutive season after leading the Bears to their first conference championship (with a 13-1 record) since sharing the 1950 title in the former Southwest Conference. He earned the District VII Coach of the Year nod earlier this week as well. Known for his up-tempo style All-America guard Jared Butler was a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection and is a candidate for a host of postseason awards · Drew had Baylor winning with a tight defense this year as well. Davion Mitchell became the first player in program history to win a conference Defensive Player of the Year honor and Mark Vital was unanimously named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team for a second straight season. Baylor finished the regular season ranked No. 2 nationally with a 21-1 record, winning more conference games (13) than any other league team despite having four games cancelled. Drew would be the first Henry Iba Award winner for Baylor, which faces Hartford in Friday·s first round of the NCAA Tournament.

In his second year at Alabama, Oats has taken the Crimson Tide to a 24-6 record and their first regular-season Southeastern Conference championship in 19 seasons and tied the school record for most SEC wins (16). Alabamas 10-game win streak early in the season was its longest since the 1996-97 season and its SEC Tournament title last week was the school's first since 1991. Senior Herbert Jones was the SEC·s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, only the third player to earn both · Kentucky·s Anthony Davis (2011-12) and Tyler Ulis (2015-16) are the others · and only the fifth Tide player to earn conference player of the year honors. Oats and Jones are the first Alabama duo to sweep those two honors since Mark Gottfried and Erwin Dudley did it in 2002. The District IV Coach of the Year would be the first Henry Iba winner for Alabama, which faces Iona in Saturday·s first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Henry Iba Award is named in honor of the legendary coaching great at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) who won two NCAA championships and two gold medals and one silver as coach of the U S. Olympic teams.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.

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Henry Iba Award