Power rankings: Coach of the Year candidates
Hello everyone and welcome back to another week on Wildman’s Corner. First off, I have to give kudos to Lefty for winning the Masters.
It’s Monday, which means it’s time for the power rankings. This week I’m LISTING (not ranking) five coaches I feel should be candidates for the Coach of the Year Award.
1. Josh Gregory (Augusta State): His Jags are the No. 2 team in the country, and have won three times this year. Playing in a small conference only adds to the intrigue of this team. Who knows, they could be this year’s Cinderella story when Nationals are all said and done.
2. Scott Schroeder (North Florida): The Ospreys play one of the toughest schedules each year and continue to impress. They won the Hayt earlier in the spring and are currently ranked No. 23 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. I know the Gators and ’Noles are higher in the rankings, but if I did a power ranking for Florida schools, I may not have Schroeder’s guys third.
3. John Fields (Texas): Look out Cowboys and Aggies, because you might get hooked by the ’Horns. Coach Fields has done a tremendous job getting his team back into the top 10 after some less-than-stellar seasons. So far this year the Horns have only had two finishes outside the top 5.
4. Casey Martin (Oregon): Quick: How many outside-the-top-5 finishes have the Ducks had this year? The answer: ZERO! Martin has done a tremendous job with the Ducks, winning two tournaments so far this year and competing in the toughest conference in the country. Do I hear a “Quack Attack” coming to Chattanooga this summer?
5. Chris Haack (Georgia): I know I have been tough on the Dawgs this year, but Haacker continues to prove me wrong. Playing this year without Hudson Swafford, the Dawgs still are a top-25 team, one that continues to win tournaments.
1. Dan Brooks (Duke): Just when you think Duke’s run of dominance is done, the Blue Devils prove us wrong again. How does this guy continue to do it? This year the Blue Devils won two of the toughest toughest tournaments in the country – The Preview and Liz Murphey. Look out Wilmington, because Brooks will make another run at the title.
2. Jan Dowling (Florida): Talk about a turnaround! Dowling’s Gators are hungry, motivated and winning once again. Also, the Gators are ranked 10th in the country. Did anyone expect that after last year?
3. Shelly Haywood (Arizona): For the last couple of years we have referred to USC, UCLA and ASU as the “Big 3.” However, Arizona is making a strong case to make it an Elite 4. Coach Haywood has turned this team around and put it back in the top 10, where a program like Arizona belongs.
4. Melissa Luellen (Arizona State): Yes, this coach has the best talent in the country, top to bottom. What makes Luellen such a great coach, though, is that she makes sure her team plays to that elite level. Three victories on the year with zero outside-the-top-5 finishes says it all. Oh, by the way, she has four players ranked in the top 25.
5. Kim Evans (Auburn): Last year I watched in shock as the Tigers failed to make it out of Regionals. Then, I heard Coach Evans say they would come back hungrier and stronger this year. She couldn’t have done a better job motivating, as Auburn is ranked third in the country and ready to compete for a national title.