CINCINNATI - University of Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin was all about sharing after being named the Sporting News' Coach of the Year on Thursday.
"I think whenever you win coach of the year it should be coaching staff of the year," said Cronin. "It also means you had a great season, so you have really good players. I look on it as a team award, not an individual award."
The Bearcats reached several high marks under Cronin this season.
The eighth-ranked Bearcats (27-4, 16-2 American Athletic Conference) won their first outright conference championship since 2002 and earned the top seed in this week's AAC Tournament.
UC won a nation's best 16 consecutive games, grew its home-court win streak to a nation's longest 39 games and climbed as high as No. 5 in both national polls – all high marks of the Cronin coaching era since 2006-07.
The Sporting News also paid tribute to Cronin for resurrecting the Bearcats after Bob Huggins was ousted, guiding the team from the wreckage of the high-profile Big East Conference to a low-profile new American Athletic Conference and earning eight straight NCAA appearances in a non-power conference.
The Bearcats' 16 conference wins this season tied for most in school history while their 27 overall victories at the end of the regular season tied for the second most at UC.
UC leads the nation in scoring margin (+18.3) and ranks second in field-goal percentage defense (.371), and scoring defense (57.3). The Bearcats are ranked in the Top 10 in win-lost percentage (fifth at .871), blocked shots per game (eighth at 5.6), rebound margin (10th at +7.7) and total blocks (10th with 174). They're also among the national leaders in offensive rebounds per game (12th at 13.2), three-point field-goal percentage defense (14th at .310), turnover margin (18th at +3.5) and total rebounds per game (21st at 39.2).
Bearcat opponents are shooting only 37.1 percent from the field this season (second nationally), the lowest in Cronin's 12-year coaching tenure and the lowest at UC since the 1961-62 national title campaign (.369). UC's scoring defense (57.3 points allowed) is the second lowest of the Cronin era behind only the 2014-15 squad (55.8).
Cronin was named a semifinalist for the Naismith Men's College Coach of the Year on Feb. 23.
Cronin was a finalist for the 2014 USBWA Henry Iba National Coach of the Year Award for his efforts in helping guide the Bearcats to a share of the inaugural AAC regular-season crown with Louisville.
Cronin is one of only six coaches to take his team to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last seven years, joining Mark Few (Gonzaga), Tom Izzo (Michigan State), Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Bill Self (Kansas) and Roy Williams (North Carolina).
Cronin owns a 332-163 career record in his 15th season as a head coach. He is 263-139 in his 12th season at Cincinnati after posting a 69-24 mark in three seasons as head coach at Murray State from 2004-2006.
The 46-year old Cronin ranks second in the nation in career wins among coaches under the age of 50.