Shaka Smart voted AP coach of the year after leading Marquette to 29-7 record, first Big East Tournament championship

Marquette head coach Shaka Smart has been voted as the Associated Press college basketball coach of the year after leading the Golden Eagles to a 29-7 record and their first Big East Tournament championship.

The honor marks the first time a Marquette head coach has won the award since Tom Crean did it in 2003.

Smart, who has been at the helm of the program since 2019, led Marquette to its second consecutive 20-win season and its first Big East Tournament title since 2013.

The Golden Eagles started the season with a 17-3 record and moved up to No. 5 in the AP Top 25 poll in late January. They finished the regular season with a 12-game winning streak, which included wins over tournament teams Villanova, Creighton and Butler.

In the Big East Tournament, Marquette knocked off Georgetown, Creighton and Seton Hall to claim the crown. They then made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2017 and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2013.

Smart, who was named Big East Coach of the Year, has now been voted as the AP coach of the year for the second time in his career. He won the award in 2016 after taking Virginia Commonwealth to the NCAA Tournament and Final Four.

“I'm incredibly humbled and honored to be named AP Coach of the Year,” Smart said in a statement. “I want to thank my players, assistant coaches, and the entire Marquette Basketball family. It's been a special season and I'm so proud of our program and what we've accomplished this year.”