Middeapolis The Atlantic Coast Conference scored a rare sweep Friday when Duke All-American Shane Battier and North Carolina coach Matt Doherty were presented with Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards by The Associated Press.
It marked the first time since 1979 that a single conference won both awards. That year they were won by coach Bill Hodges and senior forward Larry Bird of Indiana State.
"I can list five, probably 10 coaches, off the top of my head who deserve it more," said Doherty, a former Kansas assistant. "A coach is only as good as his players. We had fun this year. I wish we were still playing and I could be here with my team now."
Doherty, in his first season at his alma mater after one year at Notre Dame, was the first North Carolina coach to win the award. He led the Tar Heels to a 26-7 record and a share of the ACC regular-season title. They lost to Duke in the conference tournament championship game.
Doherty received 24 votes in the national media balloting. He was followed by Larry Eustachy of Iowa State (22), Al Skinner of Boston College (21) and Bill Self of Illinois (20).
Battier, a senior forward, averaged 19.9 points and 7.2 rebounds this season, leading the top-ranked Blue Devils to the NCAA Final Four. He is a two-time national defensive player of the year and is the first player in ACC history to finish with at least 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 200 blocks, 200 assists and 200 steals.
"This is a long way from six points and seven rebounds in my freshman year," he said. "I was fortunate to play with a program and a coach that allowed me to be myself."
Battier received 65 votes in the national media balloting. He was followed by guards Jamaal Tinsley of Iowa State with 14, and Joseph Forte of North Carolina and Jason Williams of Duke, 10 each.
Battier is the fourth player from the ACC to win the award in the past five years and the fifth in the past seven.