March Madness History: Mens and Womens Tournament MOPs

When I was a kid, I always thought the term MOP was curious. Perhaps it was because I was so used to the term MVP, and the NCAA Tournament was the only place I ever heard the term MOP, or Most Outstanding Player, used. It makes sense, I suppose; and “valuable” and “outstanding” are relatively interchangeable within the context of a 6-game tournament.

Still, there was always something about MOP that seemed less prestigious to me than MVP. Maybe it has something to do with the unavoidable mental connection to mops, the actual physical things used to clean floors, and of course terms like “mop-up duty” or “mop-up time”. I always associated those terms with the scrubs at the end of the bench getting to play — clearly a stark contrast from what MOP is meant to symbolize.

NCAA Tournament MVP: Mens and Womens Most Outstanding Player MOP WinnersBut it what it is — and I may be the only idiot to overanalyze this in such a way — and when it comes to the NCAA Tournament, the best player is named the Most Outstanding Player. And the history of the Most Outsanding Player Award is the subject of today’s March Madness history lesson.

Before we jump into the All-Time NCAA Tournament MOP table, with both the mens and womens award winners, a quick rundown of our other recent March Madness links, and even a couple of ticket resources if you are thinking of make the (wise) decision to attend some NCAA Tournament games this year.

And now, here is the table that displays the all-time list of MOP winners for the mens and womens NCAA Tournament:

NCAA Basketball Tournament MOP Award Winners: Men and Women

Year Tournament MOP - Men School   Tournament MOP - Women School
2010 Kyle Singler Duke   Maya Moore UConn
2009 Wayne Ellington North Carolina   Tina Charles UConn
2008 Mario Chalmers Kansas   Candace Parker Tennessee
2007 Corey Brewer Florida   Candace Parker Tennessee
2006 Joakim Noah Florida   Laura Harper Maryland
2005 Sean May North Carolina   Sophia Young Baylor
2004 Emeka Okafor UConn   Diana Taurasi UConn
2003 Carmelo Anthony Syracuse   Diana Taurasi UConn
2002 Juan Dixon Maryland   Swin Cash UConn
2001 Shane Battier Duke   Ruth Riley Notre Dame
2000 Mateen Cleaves Michigan State   Shea Ralph UConn
1999 Richard Hamilton UConn   Ukari Figgs Purdue
1998 Jeff Sheppard Kentucky   Chamique Holdsclaw Tennessee
1997 Miles Simon Arizona   Chamique Holdsclaw Tennessee
1996 Tony Delk Kentucky   Michelle Marciniak Tennessee
1995 Ed O'Bannon UCLA   Rebecca Lobo UConn
1994 Corliss Williamson Arkansas   Charlotte Smith North Carolina
1993 Donald Williams North Carolina   Sheryl Swoopes Texas Tech
1992 Bobby Hurley Duke   Molly Goodenbour Stanford
1991 Christian Laettner Duke   Dawn Staley Virginia
1990 Anderson Hunt UNLV   Jennifer Azzi Stanford
1989 Glen Rice Michigan   Bridgette Gordon Tennessee
1988 Danny Manning Kansas   Erica Westbrooks Louisiana Tech
1987 Keith Smart Indiana   Tonya Edwards Tennessee
1986 Pervis Ellison Louisville   Clarissa Davis Texas
1985 Ed Pinckney Villanova   Tracy Claxton Old Dominion
1984 Patrick Ewing Georgetown   Cheryl Miller USC
1983 Hakeen Olajuwon Houston   Cheryl Miller USC
1982 James Worthy North Carolina   Janice Lawrence Louisiana Tech
1981 Isiah Thomas Indiana      
1980 Darrell Griffith Louisville      
1979 Magic Johnson Michigan State      
1978 Jack Givens Kentucky      
1977 Butch Lee Marquette      
1976 Kent Benson Indiana      
1975 Richard Washington UCLA      
1974 David Thompson NC State      
1973 Bill Walton UCLA      
1972 Bill Walton UCLA      
1971 None (Howard Porter*) (Villanova)   *later ruled ineligible  
1970 Sidney Wicks UCLA      
1969 Lew Alcindor UCLA      
1968 Lew Alcindor UCLA      
1967 Lew Alcindor UCLA      
1966 Jerry Chambers Utah      
1965 Bill Bradley Princeton      
1964 Walt Hazzard UCLA      
1963 Art Heyman Duke      
1962 Paul Hogue Cincinnati      
1961 Jerry Lucas Ohio State      
1960 Jerry Lucas Ohio State      
1959 Jerry West West Virginia      
1958 Elgin Baylor Seattle      
1957 Wilt Chamberlain Kansas      
1956 Hal Lear Temple      
1955 Bill Russell San Francisco      
1954 Tom Gola LaSalle      
1953 B. H. Born Kansas      
1952 Clyde Lovellette Kansas      
1951 Bill Spivey Kentucky      
1950 Irwin Dambrot CCNY      
1949 Alex Groza Kentucky      
1948 Alex Groza Kentucky      
1947 George Kaftan Holy Cross      
1946 Bob Kurland Oklahoma A&M*   *now Oklahoma State  
1945 Bob Kurland Oklahoma A&M*      
1944 Arnie Ferrin Utah      
1943 Ken Sailors Wyoming      
1942 Howie Dallmer Stanford      
1941 John Kotz Wisconsin      
1940 Marvin Huffman Indiana      
1939 Jimmy Hull Ohio State      

A few interesting tidbits that I noticed while putting this list together:

  • There have been 4 two-time winners of the Womens NCAA Tournament MOP Award since 1982. During that same time span, not one player on the mens side has won the award twice in a row. It did happen on the mens’ side back in the day, however, when guys like Bill Walton, Lew Alcindor, and Jerry Lucas took home multiple NCAA Tournament MOPs.
  • 2004 was a hell of a year for UConn. The mens and womens teams took home the titles, with Emeka Okafor and Diani Taurasi both winning the MOP.
  • Since 1982, only 14 different schools on the womens’ side have had MOP winners. In that same timespan, 20 different schools on the mens’ side have had MOP winners.
  • Damn, Baylor just beat Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament.

Update: Get ready for this year’s NCAA Tournament with our March Madness 2010 preview post.

About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.


  1. Michelle says:

    It’s become unusual for the better men players to graduate. However, “back in the day”, it was common for the stars to graduate.

    I like the continuity of women’s basketball. Being able to get excited about next year’s team without having to wait to see who is turning pro.

    Though, you cannot blame the guys, the owners pass dollars around like candy.

    This is a fun time for basketball !

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