Providence coach Ed Cooley is a Naismith Coach of the Year finalist

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Ed Cooley is one of four finalists for the Naismith College Coach of the Year award.

This would be the latest in a season full of personal milestones for Providence’s leader. Cooley joins Arizona’s Tommy Lloyd, Texas Tech’s Mark Adams and Wisconsin’s Greg Gard among the final contenders for the crown. The winner will be announced at the Final Four on April 3.

Cooley became the first coach representing the Friars to be named Big East Coach of the Year earlier this month. He’s taken the program to a first Sweet 16 since 1997, and their 27-5 record marks the most wins at Providence since the 1973-74 season. Cooley reached 300 wins overall in his career, 200 with the Friars and 100 in the Big East earlier this season.

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Providence head coach Ed Cooley shouts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Villanova, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Villanova, Pa. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
Providence head coach Ed Cooley shouts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Villanova, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Villanova, Pa. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Cooley owns head-to-head victories against a pair of his fellow finalists. Providence grinded to a 63-58 road triumph against the Badgers on Nov. 15, a contest included in the annual Gavitt Games between the Big East and Big Ten. The Friars also edged the Red Raiders at home, 72-68, in a Dec. 1 thriller as part of the Big East-Big 12 Battle.

As for whether or not Cooley will earn a chance to take out the Wildcats, that depends on results this weekend. Providence would need victories over Kansas and the Miami-Iowa State winner to capture the Midwest Region and head to a third Final Four in program history. Arizona battles Houston and either Villanova or Michigan while attempting to advance through the South Region.

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Sweet 16: PC Friars face Kansas Jayhawks

The Friars and Jayhawks tip at 7:15 p.m. on Friday in Chicago, with games being played at the United Center. The Hurricanes and Cyclones immediately follow the action between the top two remaining seeds in the region. Providence held off South Dakota State and dismantled Richmond to reach this point.

How to vote for coach Cooley

Fans can visit or access @MarchMadness on Twitter to cast their ballots between Tuesday and March 29.

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Bryant's Jared Grasso is Durham Award finalist

Bryant University men's basketball head coach Jared Grasso was one of 20 finalists announced on Monday for the Hugh Durham Award, given annually to the top mid-major coach in the country.

This season, Grasso's Bulldogs won the Northeast Conference championship and clinched the school's first-ever berth in the NCAA tournament. No. 16 Bryant fell to Wright State as part of the NCAA's First Four games held in Dayton, Ohio.

This marks the second-straight year, and the third time in four seasons at Bryant, that Grasso has been named a finalist for the award. Grasso was named a finalist in 2018-19 after tripling Bryant's win total in his first year and again in 2020-21 after leading the Bulldogs to the NEC Championship game for the first time.

On Twitter: @BillKoch25

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Providence basketball Ed Cooley a Naismith Coach of the Year finalist