Martin Earns Honor From

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Head coach Frank Martin was honored for Kansas State's terrific start to the season on Thursday, as named him the Jim Phelan award winner as the mid-season National Coach of the Year.

Martin has K-State off to its best start since the 1958-59 season and tied with three other teams for the second-best start in school history with its current 12-1 overall record.   Only one other squad - the 1918-19 team which won its first 17 games - has a better record after 13 games  The team is currently ranked 12th in both majors polls, including the highest ranking in The Associated Press Top 25 poll since the Wildcats were ranked No. 9 in the poll on March 13, 1973.  In addition, it is the highest ranking prior to conference play since K-State was ranked No. 10 in the preseason poll in 1965.

"Kansas State has been a pleasant surprise thus far and that is due in large part to Frank Martin and his staff," said Joe Dwyer, co-founder.  "The Wildcats are playing well on both ends of the floor and they bring a toughness and confidence to the floor that is difficult to match.  That's a credit to Coach Martin."

K-State is in the midst of its longest winning streak (nine) under Martin and its longest streak since winning nine in a row to start the 1997-98 season.  The team completed the month of December perfect for just the eighth time in school history and the first time since the 1998-99 season with its 85-56 win over Cleveland State on Tuesday.  Among the Wildcats' 12 wins are two over ranked non-conference teams (No. 18/21 Dayton on Nov. 22 and No. 18/17 UNLV on Dec. 12), a first for the program since the 1958-59 squad knocked off No. 4 North Carolina State (69-67) and No. 14 St. Joseph's (68-55) on consecutive days on Dec. 19-20, 1958.  The Wildcats' 10 games scoring 80 or more points after 13 games are the most in school history.      

Martin became the third-fastest coach in school history to 50 wins with an 86-69 win over Washington State on Dec. 5, trailing just Zora Clevenger (1916-20; 59 games) and Lon Kruger (1986-90; 71 games).  He enters Sunday's game with South Dakota with a 55-25 overall record in his third season at the helm.  He is the first coach in school history to post back-to-back 20-win season since Kruger (1986-88) and one of just two to guide teams to the postseason in his first two years.    

The Jim Phelan award is presented annually to the top Division I coach in college basketball.  Prior to the 2003 season, the award was known simply as the National Coach of the Year.  It was renamed to honor longtime Mount. St. Mary's head coach Jim Phelan, who retired following the 2002-03 season.

Previous winners of the award include John Calipari (Memphis, 2009), Bo Ryan (Wisconsin, 2008), Tony Bennett (Washington State, 2007), Ben Howland (UCLA, 2006), Tubby Smith (Kentucky, 2005), Phil Martelli (St. Joseph's, 2004) and Mark Slonaker (Mercer, 2003).

The 2010 award will be presented on April 2 at the Final Four in Indianapolis.

No. 12/12 Kansas State (12-1) will resume play Sunday with the Wildcats playing host to South Dakota (6-6) at 12 p.m., CT at Bramlage Coliseum.