Randy Ayers, who led Ohio State to a share of the Big Ten championship in just his second season as a head coach, today was named Associated Press college basketball coach of the year.
The 34-year-old Ayers received 191 of 582 votes cast before the NCAA tournament by a nationwide panel of sports writers and broadcasters.Ohio State finished 27-4 this season after being eliminated by St. John's in the Midwest Regional semifinals. The Buckeyes, who reached as high as second in the poll this season, finished tied for the Big Ten title with Indiana with 15-3 conference records.
Ayers, who spent six seasons as an assistant at Ohio State before becoming head coach as successor to Gary Williams, was 17-13 in his rookie season and took the Buckeyes to the NCAA tournament where they lost to eventual champion UNLV in the second round.
Ayers became the fourth Big Ten coach to win the award in the last seven years, joining Michigan's Bill Frieder, 1985; Iowa's Tom Davis, 1987, and Indiana's Bob Knight, 1989.
Rick Pitino of Kentucky was second to Ayers in the voting with 94 and was followed by Rick Majerus of Utah, 89 1/2; Danny Nee of Nebraska, 65, and Jerry Tarkanian, UNLV, 58 1/2.