Walz named 2019 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year


Jeff Walz was honored as the 2019 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year Dec. 9. 

The Louisville women's basketball head coach directed USA Basketball to a 7-0 record and gold medal at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Thailand this summer. Walz shares the award with Kansas State's Bruce Weber.

"It is definitely an honor," Walz said. "And also, it shows what type of staff we had. I was very fortunate to be able to work with Cori [Close] and Natasha [Adair] the past two years. And then the players, obviously you don't get such an award without having an outstanding staff and a good team."

Weber was recognized for his effort coaching the USA Men's U19 World Cup Team in Greece.

USA Basketball has given the award annually since 1996 to coaches who made a significant impact on the success of individual athlete and team performance at the highest levels of competition in a manner consistent with the highest ethical, professional and moral standards.

"Jeff Walz and Bruce Weber guided our 2019 USA men's and women's U19 national teams back atop the gold medal podium," USA Basketball chief executive officer Jim Tooley said. "USA Basketball is grateful for their leadership and commitment, and we are proud to recognize them for their tremendous efforts."

The USA U19 women defeated its competition by an average of 25.2 points per game under Walz's direction, defeating Australia 74-70 in overtime in the gold medal contest. 

USA guard Paige Bueckers was named MVP. She was complimentary of her coach.

"I just think he is really smart, and he cared about our team a whole lot, and not just on the court, but off the court too," Bueckers said. "He made me a better player and opened my eyes to what college is going to be like, and potentially, if I get there, the professional level, because his IQ for the game is so high. He taught me new things about the game."