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Fortner Named Coach of the Year Semifinalist

ATLANTA, Ga. – Georgia Tech women’s basketball head coach Nell Fortner has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2020 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year, as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Wednesday.

In her first year on The Flats, Fortner has guided the Yellow Jackets to a 19-10 overall record, marking the best record by a first-year head coach in Georgia Tech women’s basketball program history. Tech capped the Atlantic Coast Conference season with a 10-8 mark, good for the first winning conference record since the 2013-14 season and the first 10-win ledger in ACC play since 2011-12. Additionally, the Jackets are 4-2 against top-25 programs this season and have collected seven wins over teams in the top 75 RPI.

Fortner is joined on the semifinalist list by two ACC coaches in Wes Moore (NC State) and Jeff Walz (Louisville). Completing the list of semifinalists are Adia Barnes (Arizona), Lisa Fortier (Gonzaga), Kelly Graves (Oregon), Joe McKeown (Northwestern), Kim Mulkey (Baylor), Dawn Plitzuweit (South Dakota) and Dawn Staley (South Carolina).

The list of 10 semifinalists will be narrowed down to four finalists on March 19, and fans will be able to support their favorite women’s college coach by visiting between March 20-April 1, to cast their ballot. The fan vote will account for five percent of the overall vote. The 2020 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year will be announced on April 4, and the winner will be honored at their school at a later date.

The four finalists will be chosen 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, all of whom base their selections on outstanding coaching performances during the 2019-20 college basketball season. The vote will be tabulated and certified by Aprio, a premier, CPA-led business advisory firm, headquartered in Atlanta.

The Yellow Jackets, the No. 7 seed in the ACC Tournament, open play in the second round on Thursday, March 5 at 6 p.m. facing either Notre Dame or Pittsburgh.


Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards, the most prestigious national honors in all of college and high school basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the family of Naismith Awards annually recognizes the most outstanding men’s and women’s college and high school basketball players and coaches. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the men’s and women’s college basketball defensive players of the year, as well as lifetime achievement awards to basketball officials and outstanding contributors to the game. UCLA’s Lew Alcindor received the first Citizen Naismith Trophy in 1969, while the late Anne Donovan (Old Dominion) was the inaugural women’s recipient in 1983. Corporate partners of the Naismith Awards include Citizen Watch Company, Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.

Alexander-Tharpe Fund
The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the A-T Fund’s Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes, and Athletics Initiative 2020, Georgia Tech athletics’ ongoing $125 million initiative to allow Tech to recruit the nation’s most elite student-athletes, build a better student-athlete once they arrive on The Flats and, ultimately, win! To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit


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