Kevin Willard wins Big East Co-Coach of the YearDate: March 9, 2016
By Kevin Huebler
Seton Hall men’s basketball head coach Kevin Willard was named the Big East Co-Coach of the Year with Villanova’s Jay Wright on Wednesday afternoon in New York.
On an afternoon where Providence’s Kris Dunn was named the Big East Player of the Year and Marquette’s Henry Ellenson was named the conference’s Freshman of the Year, Willard shares the Coach of the Year Award with Wright who is winning the award for the second straight season.
“I had a good feeling about this year,” Willard said. “I love my kids, I really felt I had a great group of kids that work hard, they had a great attitude. When you have a group that works hard, good things can happen.”
Willard had said earlier in the year that he had to convince athletic director Pat Lyons to let him prove for one more year that this team could be successful, turning a team on the verge of collapse last season into a No. 3 seed in the Big East Tournament and looking like a lock for the NCAA Tournament.
“With the strength of the league, did I think we would have a successful season? Yes,” Lyons said. “People said there was no way that was going to happen after last year. I always felt confident in this team and the process we were going through.”
Willard said prior to practice he shared with the team that this would be their award, which is typical Kevin Willard, according to Lyons.
“He does not like to talk about himself,” said Lyons. “When you are a head coach you are a
ightning rod. For good, for bad, you are a lightning rod. Obviously Willard realizes how things were going last year. I think deep down he is just happy that he has been able to justify the job he was doing.”