Second-year Tulsa head coach Danny Manning was named the 2014 Gene Bartow Conference USA Coach of the Year, the league office announced Wednesday. The honor was awarded in a vote by the conference head coaches.
In just his second season as head coach of the Golden Hurricane, Manning led Tulsa to the Conference USA regular season championship. TU went 13-3 in league play to capture a share of its first regular season league title since it also shared the WAC title in 2002. The Hurricane was picked to finish anywhere from sixth to ninth by preseason basketball publications.
Tulsa finished the regular season winning 14 of its last 17 games, including eight in a row. TU played six of its final nine contests on the road, and won five straight road games to end the season. The Hurricane started the season 1-6 and entered conference play with a 5-9 record after playing a difficult non-conference schedule that ranks 61st in the nation.
In its last 13 games, the Tulsa defense has allowed just 62.6 points per game and a .386 field goal percentage. This season, TU has held 28 of 30 opponents below 50 percent shooting, including 15 opponents below a .400 field goal percentage. Tulsa leads the league in defensive rebounds (26.8) and defensive rebound percentage (.721).
The Hurricane averaged 74.1 points in conference games and outscored opponents by 11.4 points per game, ranking second in the league in both categories.
Manning is the eighth TU head coach to earn conference coach of the year honors. He joins a prestigious list that includes Bill Self (1999-00), Tubby Smith (1993-94 and 1994-95), J.D. Barnett (1986-87), Nolan Richardson (1980-81 and 1984-85), Ken Hayes (1968-69 and 1972-73), Joe Swank (1966-67) and Clarence Iba (1954-55).
The second-seeded Golden Hurricane (18-12, 13-3 C-USA) opens the Conference USA Championship at noon on Thursday against either Tulane or North Texas in quarterfinal action.