For the first time in his long coaching career, Matt Painter earned top honors from his peers on Tuesday after being announced the National Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
After losing four starting seniors, beginning the season 6-5 and then rallying to win a share of the Big Ten regular season championship and reach the Elite Eight for the first time in his career, the award is only fitting for the Purdue head coach.
Painter is the second head coach in Boilermaker history to win the award after Gene Keady won it in 1994 and 2000. Purdue is one of only two programs that to have had two coaches claim the award since 2000, sharing the statistic with Kentucky, won by Tubby Smith in 2003 and John Calipari in 2015.
At the helm of the Boilermaker program, Painter has led the team to 11 NCAA tournament appearances in 14 seasons, the sixth most in Big Ten history. Along the way, he has also racked up four Big Ten Coach of the Year awards, second only to Gene Keady (7) and Indiana’s Bobby Knight (5).
While Painter has created sustained success over the 14 seasons he’s led Purdue, his best years have come in the past several seasons. The Boilermakers have been the Big Ten’s best team for three years, compiling a 45-11 conference-leading record that marks the third-most wins in as many years in Big Ten history.
Adding on to the recent success, Purdue and North Carolina are the only two teams in the NCAA to be ranked in the top 15 in the season-ending AP Top 25 poll for four straight years. It is also one of four programs to reach three straight Sweet Sixteens and one of six programs to win 26 or more games in four straight seasons.