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      Benedict's Watson named finalist for national coach of year award

      COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - Benedict College head men's basketball coach Fred Watson has been named a finalist for the 2013 Clarence "Big House" Gaines National Coach of the Year.

      Watson guided the Tigers to a 24-7 record and second straight SIAC Tournament title this past season. He was also named the tournament's Most Outstanding Coach for the second consecutive year. The Tigers reached the NCAA Division II Tournament for the seventh time in eight years under Watson, and the eighth time overall. The 12th-ranked Tigers beat Eckerd in the first round, before falling to ninth-ranked Alabama-Huntsville in the second round.

      The Gaines award is given each year to the top Division II men's basketball coach. Clarence Gaines retired from Winston-Salem State University in 1993 with a record of 828-446. At the time he was the winningest active basketball coach in NCAA history. During his 47-year tenure as coach and athletic director at WSSU he coached professional basketball greats Cleo Hill and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

      Watson is one of 15 coaches named as finalists for the award, including USC Aiken's Vince Alexander.

      The 2013 Clarence Gaines National Coach of the Year award be presented Friday, April 5 at a banquet in Atlanta, the site of the men's NCAA Division I basketball championship.