Michigan’s Howard wins Henry Iba Award

INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – Michigan second-year head coach Juwan Howard, who led the Wolverines to a Big Ten regular-season championship and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, has been named the winner of the 2020-21 Henry Iba Award, given annually by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association to its national coach of the year.

Howard is just the second Michigan coach to earn the honor, joining Johnny Orr from the 1975-76 season. Howard was chosen from a list of finalists that also included the 2017 winner, Mark Few of Gonzaga, along with Scott Drew of Baylor and Nate Oats of Alabama. Current Michigan associate head coach Phil Martelli won the award as the head coach at St. Joseph’s in 2004.

Following a 25-year career in the NBA – 19 as a player and six as an assistant coach – Howard earned the District V Coach of the Year this season by leading Michigan (20-4) to its first Big Ten regular-season title since 2014. Howard is the first Big Ten coach to be honored as the USBWA national coach of the year since Bruce Weber at Illinois in 2005 and he is the first to earn Big Ten Coach of the Year honors from both the media and the coaches’ votes since Weber that same season. The Henry Iba Award is based on regular-season performance.

Michigan raced out to an 11-0 start and stayed at the top of the standings among the strongest Big Ten field in recent memory. Howard coached freshman center Hunter Dickinson to USBWA Second Team All-America honors, the first Michigan freshman to ever achieve that status and the Wolverines’ first All-American since 2013 (Trey Burke). Dickinson was also the first Michigan freshman in 43 seasons to earn All-Big Ten First Team accolades. Dickinson leads the Wolverines in scoring (14.4), rebounding (7.8) and double-doubles (5).

Howard, 39-16 at Michigan, is its winningest coach through two seasons, passing his old coach Steve Fisher (37) for that mark. He has a 10-9 record against ranked opponents that includes six wins against Top-10 teams. Perhaps his most notable win came Feb. 21 this season when the Wolverines, ranked third in both polls at the time, won at No. 4 Ohio State, 92-87. Howard’s teams are 24-13 in Big Ten play.

The Wolverines are the No. 1 seed in the East region. They face Texas Southern in the first round Saturday.

Howard was the first member of Michigan’s famous Fab Five to commit to the Wolverines in 1991 following his McDonald’s All-American season. Chris Webber (1993) and Jalen Rose (1994) became USBWA All-Americans from that core that also included Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. Howard’s three seasons in Ann Arbor included playing in back-to-back national title games in 1992 and ’93 and reaching the Elite Eight in all three. He then opted for early entry into the 1994 NBA Draft.

The Henry Iba Award is named in honor of the legendary coaching great at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) who won two NCAA championships and two gold medals and one silver as coach of the U S. Olympic teams.

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