March 10, 2010
UTEP junior guard Randy Culpepper has been named the Conference USA Player of the Year for the 2009-10 season, while his head coach Tony Barbee has been named the league's Coach of the Year. The awards for the regular-season champions were announced today prior to the opening of the 2010 GMC Sierra Conference USA Men's Basketball Championship.
Culpepper earned All-Conference USA first-team honors as he helped guide UTEP to its first C-USA title with a 15-1 league record. The junior from Memphis, Tenn., enters the C-USA Championship ranked third in C-USA in scoring at 18.1 points per game. Culpepper has led the Miners in scoring 14 times this season and has moved up fourth place in scoring all-time at UTEP with 1,597 points. He has topped the 30-point mark three times this year, including 45 points against East Carolina on Feb. 13, the most by any C-USA player this season and tied for second-most in league history. He made the jump to the first-team after earning third-team honors last season and was the 2007-08 Sixth Player of the Year as a freshman.
Barbee was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year presented by the Birmingham Tipoff Club in a vote by the 12 C-USA head coaches.
In his fourth season at the helm of the Miners, Barbee led UTEP to its first Conference USA regular season championship, with a 15-1 league record and a 24-5 overall mark. The Miners have steadily improved under Barbee, raising their win total from 14 in 2006-07 to 19 in 2007-08 to 23 in 2008-09. Last season, Barbee led the Miners to the finals of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) as the team finished 23-14.
The Miners enter the GMC Sierra Conference USA Championship riding a 14-game winning streak. UTEP is ranked No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 25 in the Associated Press poll.
2009-10 CONFERENCE USA PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Randy Culpepper, UTEP, G, 6-0, 165, Jr., Memphis, Tenn.
2009-10 CONFERENCE USA COACH OF THE YEAR
Tony Barbee, UTEP