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Horn a finalist for top coach honors

Darrin Horn is a finalist for a national coaching honor in his first season as the USC men's basketball coach.

It was announced Monday that Horn is among the final 10 up for the 2009 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award, given each year to the nation's top coach. The finalists are determined by a 20-member panel and the winner will be presented with the award at the 2009 NCAA Final Four in Detroit.

Horn has led the USC to its first 20-win season since the 2005-06 campaign and has the team poised for an NCAA tournament run. He joined USC this season after five seasons as the head coach at his alma mater, Western Kentucky.

The team is currently tied with Tennessee for first place in the SEC East and plays the Vols in Columbia on Thursday.

Other coaches up for the honor include Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon, who received mid-season Phelan Award honors; Trent Johnson (LSU); Jim Calhoun (Connecticut), John Calipari (Memphis), Lorenzo Romar (Washington), Bill Self (Kansas), Brad Stevens (Butler), Bruce Weber (Illinois) and Roy Williams (North Carolina).

"This is an outstanding group of coaches," said Jim Phelan, who is the chairman of the award committee.

Prior to 2003, the award was known 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.

Last year's honor went to Bo Ryan of Wisconsin.

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