NEW YORK (AP) – Tom Thibodeau brought the New York Knicks back to the playoffs, leading the team to their second-best record in 20 years.
And in the eyes of the voters, that coaching job was the best in the NBA.
Thibodeau was announced as NBA Coach of the Year for 2020-21 on Monday, as determined by a global panel of 100 sports journalists and broadcasters covering the league. The Knicks reached 41-31 that season, then fell in five games in the first round of the playoffs against Atlanta.
It was the closest vote since this voting variant was introduced 19 years ago. Thibodeau got 43 votes for first place and finished with 351 points overall, while Phoenix’s Monty Williams actually got more votes for first place – he got 45 – but ended up with 340 points.
“Every time you receive an award like this, I am naturally honored,” Thibodeau said on the television program that announced the results. “But it is more of a reflection of our group and our organization.”
It was the second time Thibodeau won the award; In 2011 he got it too, his first season with the Chicago Bulls. And another turnaround in the first year in New York earned him the trophy for the second time.
NEW YORK (AP) – The Philadelphia 76ers and their basketball operations president, Daryl Morey, were each fined $ 75,000 for a tweet sent by Morey about Golden State Warriors Guard Stephen Curry.
Morey and the team have been fined for violating the NBA’s anti-tampering rule, the league said on Monday.
On Thursday, Morey tweeted “join ’em” with a screenshot of a social media post by Stephen Curry praising his brother Seth, who scored 30 points for the Sixers in a playoff win against Washington the night before.
Morey replied to the tweet to make it clear that he just said, “We’re all excited,” Seth Curry is on the Philadelphia list.
It wasn’t the first time Morey’s Twitter account got him into trouble with the league. In 2019, Morey’s tweet in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong sparked backlash in China, where the NBA has a large fan base and financial interests. Morey was the general manager of the Houston Rockets at the time.
Retired Washington quarterback Alex Smith has won the George Halas Award given by the Pro Football Writers of America for overcoming adversity.
Smith, who has returned from a life-threatening leg injury and ended a nearly two-year absence with eight games for Washington last season, is the second consecutive Halas winner to retire before being honored.
Former Dallas Cowboys Center Travis Frederick was the 2020 winner after reaching the 2019 Pro Bowl after recovering for a year from an autoimmune disease that attacks the nervous system. Friedrich retired after the 2019 season.
37-year-old Smith is the 53rd Halas winner and third from Washington, after quarterback Billy Kilmer (1976) and defensive back Pat Fischer (1978).
The Halas Award is presented to an NFL player, coach, or employee who overcomes adversity to be successful. The award is named after a founding member (1963) of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who played a role in founding the NFL and who owned the Chicago Bears until his death in 1983.
SYRACUSE, NY (AP) – Syracuse lacrosse coach John Desko, who has built a Hall of Fame career as both a player and coach, announced his retirement on Monday after a disappointing season.
Desko, 63, took over in 1999 and finishes with a record of 265-92. He was in all eleven NCAA championships in the program, five of them as head coach, and was twice National Coach of the Year and five times coach of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Desko moved to Syracuse in 1975 and began his coaching career immediately after his playing career as assistant to Roy Simmons Jr .. He spent 19 seasons as assistant to Simmons and helped build the Orange into an eternal power before taking over the reins. He was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2020.
The decision to retire comes after a disappointing 7-6 season that started with Orange finishing second nationally and ended in a one-sided loss to Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – Gonzaga sports director Mike Roth said Monday he will retire on August 31, ending a 24-year run in which the Bulldogs have unprecedented success in men’s basketball and other sports had.
Roth spent a total of 34 years at the private Jesuit University in Spokane. He was the men’s deputy basketball coach from 1982 to 1983 and returned in 1987 as deputy sports director. In 1997 he was appointed deputy sports director and held the job permanently for the next year.
During Roth’s tenure, the Zags made 73 appearances in NCAA tournaments or championships in all sports. The men’s basketball team has made the NCAA tournament every year since 1999 and played in the national title game twice, including this year when the Zags lost to Baylor.
Roth named Mark Few head coach after Dan Monson entered the Elite Eight after the Bulldogs’ surprise run in 1999.
TUCSON, Arizona (AP) – Mike Candrea is retiring after winning eight national championships and racking up more wins than any other coach in college softball history in his 36 years in Arizona.
Caitlin Lowe, an assistant and former player under Candrea, has been promoted to head coach.
Candrea won 1,674 games – the fourth most in any sport – in a career that spanned four decades, and led the Wildcats to 24 appearances in the Women’s College World Series and 19 conference championships. He trained 50 All-Americans in Arizona and won Olympic gold and silver medals with Team USA.