COLUMN: Dusty May should be a Coach of the Year Finalist

May led the Owls to a historic season, yet the voters for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award don’t believe so.


Eston Parker III

Bryan Greenlee (left), Giancarlo Rosado (center) and Dusty May (right) discuss a gameplay against FIU on March 3, 2022.

Maddox Greenberg, Business Manager

It has been an amazing time to be a Florida Atlantic Owls men’s basketball fan, especially as a student. 

Head coach Dusty May, who has been at FAU for the past five years now, led the Owls on a historic season that isn’t over yet. The Owls have a program-best 33 wins and counting, an undefeated record at home in Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena, and a conference best 18-2 in C-USA play. Now, he’s taken them to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament. 

Oh, and the Owls have never had a losing season in the five seasons with May at the helm.

Yet, the voters for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award believe that May’s accomplishments this season did not qualify him or coach of the year—much less a finalist. Maybe it could be because the Owls defeated “Cinderella”-child Fairleigh Dickinson University, 78-70. Maybe the voters did not see that the Owls are one of two teams remaining in the tournament with 33 wins. Maybe this is payback because of criticism from sensitive “fans” over an Alijah Martin dunk that he almost made. FAU has been far too looked down upon this season over everything historic they have done. 

Maybe the voters thought that FAU’s designation as a mid-major should rule him out. Maybe the voters did not see the 21-game winning streak, the most in the nation at the time, that the Owls held this season. 

Did the voters not see the Owls defeat their future conference foes, American Athletic Conference Champions, the University of Memphis Tigers, 66-65? 

To the voter’s standards, the Owls head coach was not worthy enough to be a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year award. 

Here’s a look into who they did think was worthy. 

Houston Cougars’ head coach Kelvin Sampson, leader of the only other 33-win team; Purdue Boilermakers’ head coach Matt Painter, who just suffered the worst upset in tournament history; Marquette Golden Eagles’ head coach Shaka Smart, who’s won one of his last nine tournament games; and Kansas State University Wildcats’ head coach Jerome Tang, who will take on Michigan State University. 

That’s the list. That’s who they believe is worthy enough to win the coach of the year award this season. Not to say these men are bad coaches or that neither are worthy of being finalists, but to say Dusty May doesn’t deserve a spot on this list is ludicrous. 

While this is going on, Dusty May and the Owls are grinding it out to continue their historic season against the University of Tennessee Volunteers on Thursday. 

One question remains: what else do the Owls and Dusty May have to do to get some respect from the NCAA and the world? Do they have to win the entire tournament to get any recognition or an ounce of the respect they deserve?

The world can call the university a “villian” for eliminating their beloved Cinderella story—a team that was not supposed to be in the tournament in the first place, they lost their conference championship. But after the constant disrespect, I think Dusty May will be ok with playing the evil stepmother in that story as the tournament continues on. 

Maddox Greenberg is the Business Manager for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or DM via Facebook @maddox greenberg.