Georgia Lady Bulldog basketball head coach Joni Taylor is one of four finalists for the 2021 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s National Coach of the Year Award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Tuesday.
Taylor — the 2021 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year — joins Tara VanDerveer (Stanford), Gary Blair (Texas A&M) and Wes Moore (NC State) on this year’s final list. The winner will be announced on April 2, live on CBS Sports Network.
The finalists emerged from a group of 10 semifinalists and were selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners.
Taylor is seeking to become Georgia’s first National Coach of the Year winner since 2000. Hall of Fame head coach Andy Landers earned the honor on four occasions in 1986, 1987, 1996 and 2000.
“I want to thank all those involved with the Werner Ladder Naismith National Coach of the Year Award and want to congratulate Tara, Wes and Gary on their fantastic seasons,” Taylor said. “To be mentioned with these three coaches is very humbling. Any award like this is a team accomplishment. It’s about the players who have put in so much work for each other and this program. I am truly humbled and honored, but most of all, I am proud of this special group of young ladies I get to coach every single day.”
Following an appearance in the SEC tournament finals for the first time since 2004, Taylor and the Lady Bulldogs earned a No. 3 seed in this year’s NCAA tournament. Georgia will face Drexel at noon ET in the first round on Monday, March 22.
Under Taylor’s leadership, the Lady Bulldogs have knocked off five top-25 teams, including a season sweep of Tennessee for the first time since 1985 and a victory against then-No. 2 ranked Texas A&M in the SEC semifinals.
Georgia — led by four senior starters who have all earned their undergraduate degrees — is currently 20-6 overall. The Lady Bulldogs finished in fourth place in the SEC standings after being picked ninth in the preseason coaches poll.
Off the court, the Lady Bulldogs led all SEC basketball teams (women or men) with nine selections to the Academic Honor Roll last winter.