CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State women’s basketball head coach Scott Rueck was named Russell Athletic/WBCA Region 8 Coach of the Year, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association announced on Wednesday. Rueck is one of eight Russell Athletic/Regional Coaches of the Year and is now a finalist for the inaugural Pat Summitt Trophy to be presented to the 2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year.
The other seven finalists for the award are Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma (Region 1), Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw (Region 2), South Carolina’s Dawn Staley (Region 3), Bowling Green’s Jennifer Roos (Region 4), Baylor’s Kim Mulkey (Region 5), Indiana’s Curt Miller (Region 6) and Colorado State’s Ryun Williams (Region 7).
In his fourth year at the helm of his alma mater, Rueck has orchestrated an accelerated turnaround of the women’s basketball program at Oregon State, which culminated in 2013-14 with one of the greatest seasons in school history. The Beavers finished 24-11 overall, tying the school record for wins previously set in 1982-83. OSU’s 13-5 conference record was a new program best and the Beavers tied for second in the final Pac-12 standings, matching their highest finish as a conference member (1996).
Oregon State used a late-season 11-game win streak, the second-longest in school history, to earn its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1996. On Sunday, the Beavers defeated No. 22 Middle Tennessee to notch just the third tournament win for OSU, and first since 1995.
Earlier this month, Rueck was recognized for his efforts when he was selected by Pac-12 media as the conference’s coach of the year for the second time, becoming the only multiple recipient of that award. He was also selected by ESPN as the Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
This honor is the first such for Rueck since becoming the fifth head coach in Oregon State women’s basketball history. In 14 years leading George Fox, he was a three-time NCAA Division III West Region Coach of the Year (2008-10) and in 2009 was also named the Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year after leading the Bruins to a perfect 32-0 record and a national title.
The 2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year will be announced during the fourth annual WBCA Awards Show on Monday, April 7, in the Omni Nashville Hotel’s Broadway Ballroom. This event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Final Four.
This is the first year the physical award presented to the six Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coaches of the Year will bear Summitt's name. It will be the only national coach of the year award to do so. The legendary University of Tennessee head coach, who stepped down in April 2012, is the winningest basketball coach (men's or women's) in NCAA Division I history with 1,098 career victories. Summitt led the Lady Vols to eight NCAA Division I national championships and was named the Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year three times in her career.
WBCA awards regions divide the country into eight geographical areas. Region 8 includes Division I institutions from the Big West, Pac-12 and West Coast Conferences.