SJU women’s coach named Big East Coach of the Year

St. John’s University head Coach Kim Barnes Arico was named the 2012 Big East Coach of the Year as announced by officials from the Big East Conference at the annual postseason awards press conference last week at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., the university said.

It is the second time in her tenure that Barnes Arico has earned this prestigious honor. She was also honored in 2006 as the Big East Coach of the Year after leading the 2005-06 squad to an 11-5 league mark, 21-6 overall and No. 4 seed in the 2006 conference tournament. The award comes a day after Barnes Arico was named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Women’s National Coach of the Year award watch list.

In her 10th year as head coach of the St. John’s women’s basketball team, Barnes Arico took a team that was picked to finish seventh in the Big East preseason coaches poll to a No. 2 seed in this weekend’s Big East tournament. Her 2011-12 squad, which returned just three veteran starters in a fairly inexperienced lineup defeated five ranked teams — three on the road — to finish with a 21-8 overall record and a record-breaking 13-3 league slate.

Barnes Arico has had a signature year so far, becoming the St. John’s women’s basketball program’s all-time winningest coach with her Feb. 12 victory at then-No. 17/16 Rutgers 61-52. She also led St. John’s to its third-straight 20-win season, her fifth overall as head coach and is the only coach in St. John’s program history to have five 20-win seasons.

With a 63-48 victory over Howard Nov. 30, she cleared the 250-career wins plateau.

More from Around New York