March 2, 2012
HARTFORD, Conn. - St. John’s head coach Kim Barnes Arico was named the 2012 BIG EAST Coach of the Year, as announced by officials from the BIG EAST Conference at the annual postseason awards press conference on Friday afternoon at the XL Center in Hartford.
It is the second time in her tenure that Barnes Arico has earned this prestigious honor. She was also honored in 2006 as the BIG EAST Coach of the Year after leading the 2005-06 squad to an 11-5 league mark, 21-6 overall, and No. 4 seed in the 2006 conference tournament. The award comes a day after Barnes Arico was named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Women’s National Coach of the Year award watch list.
In her 10th year as head coach of the St. John’s women’s basketball team, Barnes Arico took a team that was picked to finish seventh in the BIG EAST preseason coaches poll to a No. 2 seed in this weekend’s BIG EAST Tournament. Her 2011-12 squad, which returned just three veteran starters in a fairly inexperienced lineup defeated five ranked teams, three on the road, to finish with a 21-8 overall record and a record-breaking 13-3 league slate.
Barnes Arico has had a signature year so far, becoming the St. John’s women’s basketball program’s all-time winningest coach with her Feb. 12 victory at then-No. 17/16 Rutgers, 61-52. She also led St. John’s to its third-straight 20-win season, her fifth overall as head coach and is the only coach in St. John’s program-history to have five 20-win seasons. With a 63-48 victory over Howard on Nov. 30, she cleared the 250-career wins plateau.
Barnes Arico and the Red Storm won its last eight-consecutive games and 10 of its last 11, to finish out the regular season. During the run, the Red Storm knocked off then-No. 2 Connecticut, 57-56, on Feb. 18, ending the Huskies’ 99-game home winning streak and grabbing national headlines. St. John’s also defeated Rutgers twice, once on its home court, becoming the only team not in the top 10 to do so, No. 12 Georgetown, 54-45 (Feb. 27) and then-No. 12/14 Louisville, 72-64 on Jan. 8. St. John’s won seven-consecutive road games in the BIG EAST.
St. John’s is currently ranked No. 18 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 21 in the ESPN.com-USA Today Coaches Poll after starting the season at 5-5.
When Barnes Arico was hired as head coach, she took over a St. John’s program that was winless in the BIG EAST to a yearly NCAA Tournament contender. She has led the program to three NCAA Tournament berths (2006, 2010, 2011), including back-to-back second round appearances in each of the past two seasons. With her successes in 2012, she is looking to make it three-straight as an NCAA Tournament team, which would make her the only St. John’s women’s basketball coach to appear in four total NCAA Tournaments during their tenure.
Barnes Arico has led St. John’s to six overall postseason appearances and nine-straight BIG EAST Tournaments, including four-consecutive trips before the BIG EAST began allowing all 16 teams. From 2009-11, the Red Storm was ranked for 16-straight weeks in the Associated Press Poll, including the first-ever preseason ranking in 2010-11. St. John’s was also ranked for 18-consecutive weeks in the ESPN Coaches Poll. In 2011-12, St. John’s was once again nationally recognized, receiving a preseason No. 25 ranking the AP poll.
Over her time with St. John’s she has been named BIG EAST Coach of the Year twice (2006, 2012), was the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year twice (2006, 2010) and the Basketball Coaches Association of New York Statewide Coach of the Year three times (2005, 2010, 2011). In early fall, she was a featured speaker at the Howard Garfinkel’s “Clinic To End All Clinics.”
Barnes Arico is the third women’s basketball coach from St. John’s to earn this award, but it is the fourth time overall.
With the No. 2 seed, in the 2012 BIG EAST Conference Championships St. John’s and will have a double bye to the Quarterfinals. The Red Storm will play the winner of the Louisville vs. Villanova/Seton hall match up on Sunday, March 4. Tip off is slated for 6 p.m. (ET).
On Thursday, four members of the St. John’s women’s basketball team received All-BIG EAST honors as senior forward Da’Shena Stevens was awarded the BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award as well as all-conference second team honors. Junior Shenneika Smith was named to the All-BIG EAST first team, classmate Nadirah McKenith earned all-second team honors and rookie forward Amber Thompson was named to the BIG EAST All-Freshman team.