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April 3, 2014

Coach Waters finalist for Jobe Award

By Lalita Smith

Coach Gary WatersCleveland State University’s very own men’s head basketball coach Gary Waters has been named a finalist for the Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year award.

The Ben Jobe award is a minority coaching award presented by Collegeinsider.com. It is awarded annually to the top minority Division I men’s basketball coach.

“This award recognizes class and coaching excellence, which all of the finalists embody,” said Angela Lento, co-founder of Collegeinsider.com, in a recent press release.

The Ben Jobe award was created as a way to pay tribute to and recognize outstanding minority coaches.

The award is named in honor of Coach Ben Jobe. Coach Jobe made history as a legend among men’s basketball at historically black colleges and universities, according to benjobeward.com

“It’s a great award because it’s been given to what I call very qualified and quality people, in the past,” said Waters. “To be even considered is an honor.”

Coach Jobe is recognized most often as the head coach of the Southern University Jaguars, in his 12 years there he led the team to four NCAA tournaments, won 11 Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and won five Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships.

“It feels good [to be a finalist], it feels that they’re recognizing that you’ve contributed to the game of basketball,” said Waters.

And his contributions to basketball here at Cleveland State have been nothing short of legendary.

Last season Waters became the winningest head basketball coach in Cleveland State history as he recorded his record breaking 150th win on Jan. 28.

He also led the Vikings to a 21-12 regular season record, his two Horizon League Championships in 2009 and 2011 stand as the first and only times Cleveland State have been league champions in school history.

“[If I were to win] it would mean that I’ve been acknowledged by my peers, that I have contributed to the game over the years,” said Waters.

Not only does Waters contribute on the court—but he does so off the court as well.
Waters is a co-chair of the 2014 Radiance Faculty and Staff Campaign—a fund raising campaign whose main goal is to raise and distribute scholarships to academically qualified students who are at risk of dropping out due to financial struggles or limitations.

“I think it’s a quality program and I think it’s something that all the faculty and staff here need to be a part of,” said Waters.

Waters is one of 15 finalists for this year’s award—other finalists include Rob Murphy (Eastern Michigan), Ron Hunter (Georgia State) and Joe Jones (Boston University).
The winner will be announced at an award banquet hosted by Collegeinsider.com on April 4 in Dallas, Texas.