SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara women's basketball head coach Carlene Mitchell was named one of three finalists for the Spalding Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year presented by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.
Mitchell, who led UCSB to its 14th Big West Tournament title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament turning around a team that was 8-13 by winning nine of the Gauchos' final 12 games, is one of just three honorees nationwide to be nominated for the award.
The other nominees are Cara Consuegra of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and Jennifer Hoover of High Point University. Consuegra's team ended the season with a 16-14 overall record and an 8-6 Atlantic 10 mark. The 49ers advanced to postseason tournament play for the tenth consecutive season after earning a spot in the Women's National Invitation Tournament. Hoover led the program to a 20-13 record and 13-5 mark in Big South competition. The 2011-12 squad is only the second in the program's Division I history to surpass the 20-win plateau.
"This is an honor," Mitchell said.
The winner will be honored at the WBCA Awards Show on Monday, April 2 during the women's Final Four in Denver.
The Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year award is presented in honor of the late Maggie Dixon, former Army head coach, whose success during her inaugural year at the Army helm was remarkable. The Black Knights won the Patriot League title in 2006 and Dixon was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year after leading Army to the NCAA Tournament for the first time at the NCAA Division I level. Coach Dixon passed away on April 6, 2006, just a few weeks following the Black Knights' appearance in the NCAA Tournament.