TAMPA, Fla. - In a not-so-surprising announcement Wednesday, USF women's head basketball coach Jose Fernandez was named to the 2021 Naismith Women's Coach of the Year watch list.
"It's really well deserved," Bulls senior Bethy Mununga said the day after the announcement. "I'm really happy for him."
Fernandez, who is one of 15 names up for the award, refuses to take credit.
"Not many coaches make that list if they don't have good basketball players," he said.
So far, those players have amassed a 12-1 overall record -- 9-0 in American Conference play -- an upset win over then 6th-ranked Mississippi State, and are currently ranked 12th in the country. All this, despite a 31-day layoff in which there were no games, no formal practices, and very little contact with one another.
"When we came back there were a lot of question marks," Mununga said. "Then, we won two games back-to-back, giving us more confidence."
Excuses could have been made. No one would have blamed them, but that isn't this team's style.
"This group is special just because of everything they've had to go through," Fernandez said. "If we continue to do what we do every day, you're going to be able to write a book about this season."