Courtesy of NMSU
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced on Wednesday that New Mexico State women’s basketball head coach Mark Trakh is one of eight recipients of the 2015 United States Marine Corps/WBCA NCAA Division I Regional Coach of the Year award, and is now a finalist for the Pat Summitt Trophy to be presented to the 2015 United States Marine Corps/WBCA NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year.
Trakh, who is the Region 7 Coach of the Year, joins a list that includes the likes of Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma, South Carolina’s Dawn Staley and Maryland’s Brenda Frese, whom Trakh faced off against in the NCAA Tournament, as candidates for the National Coach of the Year award, which will be announced during the Fifth Annual WBCA Awards Show on Monday, April 6, in the Grand Ballroom of the Tampa Marriot Waterside as part of WBCA National Convention at the NCAA Final Four.
“I’m honored by this recognition, I’m honored to be placed in such an elite group of coaches,” Trakh said, “but I owe this honor to my players and coaches who have really turned this program around. I think all the credit for my recognition belongs to my players for what they did on the court and turning the culture around here at NM State, and we’re looking for bright things ahead. I want to thank my players and my great coaching staff, who do an awesome job from recruiting to coaching.”
Trakh led the Aggies to one of the greatest seasons in program history, finishing with a 22-8 overall record, which is even more impressive considering the team started 0-5 but finished 22-3 over its last 25 games. For his efforts Trakh was honored as the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
Under Trakh, who just wrapped up his fourth season at NM State, the Aggies won their first conference championship in 20 years, thier first conference tournament title ever and made their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1988, a span of 27 years. By making the NCAA Tournament, Trakh became one of only 10 NCAA Division-I women’s basketball coaches to take three different programs to the tournament.
“The WBCA congratulates these eight outstanding coaches on being named finalists for the Pat Summitt Trophy, presented to the 2015 United States Marine Corps/WBCA Division I National Coach of the Year,” said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew. “Each coach was selected as a finalist by their peers after leading their respective teams to exceptional seasons. The WBCA appreciates and applauds each coach’s commitment to their student-athletes, institutions, and communities.”
The United States Marine Corps and the WBCA present the Pat Summitt Trophy, named for the legendary University of Tennessee coach, to the United States Marine Corps/WBCA National Coach of the Year annually in each of the six WBCA membership divisions (NCAA Divisions I, II and III; NAIA; junior/community college and high school).
“The Marine Corps congratulates the finalists for the 2015 United States Marine Corps/WBCA Division I National Coach of Year,” said Lieutenant Colonel Brian C. Proctor, Assistant Chief of Staff Diversity, Marine Corps Recruiting Command. “The hard work and dedication needed to achieve this recognition from their peers exemplifies the Marine Corps leadership values of honor, courage and commitment.”
Founded in 1981, the WBCA promotes women’s basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as a sport for women and girls. This is the 33rd year since 1983 that the WBCA has presented this honor to a Division I head coach. For a list of past recipients and for more information on the WBCA visit WBCA.org.
WBCA DIV. I REGIONAL COACHES OF THE YEAR AND FINALISTS FOR PAT SUMMITT TROPHY
• Region 1 – Geno Auriemma, University of Connecticut
• Region 2 – Sue Semrau, Florida State University
• Region 3 – Dawn Staley, University of South Carolina
• Region 4 – Michelle Clark-Heard, Western Kentucky University
• Region 5 – Kim Mulkey, Baylor University
• Region 6 – Brenda Frese, University of Maryland
• Region 7 – Mark Trakh, New Mexico State University
• Region 8 – Scott Rueck, Oregon State University