Western Washington University men's basketball coach Tony Dominguez was one of 15 finalists announced Monday, April 1, for the 2013 Clarence "Big House" Gaines National Coach of the Year honors.
The award will be presented on Friday, April 5, at the CollegeInsider.com awards banquet in Atlanta, site of the men's NCAA Basketball Championship.
Dominguez directed the Vikings to a 31-3 record, the win total tying the school record for the season; an NCAA Division-II West Regional championship and the semifinals of the Elite Eight. He became the first first-year head coach in Division II history to win his first 24 games.
Earlier, Dominguez was named Great Northwest Athletic Conference co-Coach of the Year after leading WWU to the regular-season title. The Vikings' 17-1 league record was the best in conference history.
Prior to being named head coach at WWU, Dominguez was the Vikings' associate head coach for two seasons and an assistant 17 years overall, all at WWU.
The other national COY finalists include Lennie Acuff (Alabama Huntsville), Vince Alexander (USC Aiken), Tom Billeter (Augustana College), Derrick Clark (Metropolitan State), Bobby Collins (Winston Salem State), Jim Crutchfield (West Liberty), Keith Dickson (Saint Anselm), Steve Hesser (Drury), Greg Kamansky (Cal Poly Pomona), Ryan Looney (Seattle Pacific), Matt Margenthaler (Minnesota State), Josh Schertz (Lincoln Memorial), James Stinson (Livingstone) and Fred Watson (Benedict).
The award is presented annually to the top Division II men's basketball coach. One of the true legends of all-time, Clarence Gaines retired from Winston-Salem State University in 1993 with a record of 828-446. At the time he was the winningest active basketball coach in NCAA history. During his 47-year tenure as coach and athletic director at WSSU he coached professional basketball greats Cleo Hill (first African-American from an historically Black college and university to be drafted No. 1 by the National Basketball Association, St. Louis Hawks, 1961) and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.