Schu Strings: Coach of the Year

I suspect by now most of you are aware of last week's Coach of the Year commentary on Sportsline.com. It was quite the topic of conversation on the Cattracks.net basketball message board. Additionally, I am told Duke Vitale covered this issue during a recent college basketball broadcast on ABC, but since my Dukie V boycott continues, I have to take the word of others on that one.

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Anyway, for some inexplicable reason, Arizona Coach Lute Olson was not at or near the top of the list, in fact he was excluded from the Sportsline.com piece altogether, in regards to Coach of the Year candidacy.

So with this in mind, Ryan Radtke, the oft-abused (and rightly so, since I'm doing the abusing) host of the Wildcat pre and postgame show on KNST, compiled an impressive list of reasons as to why Olson should be National Coach of the Year.

1. Olson's team, by 20 minutes per game, has more freshmen representation than any other Division I squad in the country.
2. Of comparable programs that endured significant turnover ratios, Olson's Wildcat team is the only one that has found consistent success. Michigan State is seventh in the Big Ten. North Carolina will not make the tournament for the first time in 27 years.
3. Strength of schedule: Arizona's strength of schedule is No. 1 in the RPI, and by far. No team has played near the number of top 50 RPI entries as Arizona, yet the UA finds itself at the top of one of the nation's most balanced conferences.

There are numerous coaches who deserve to be under consideration for this annual accolade. Certainly, the likes of Bob Huggins, Bob Knight, Perry Clark, Ernie Kent, Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski, Kelvin Sampson, Mark Few, Mark Gottfried, Tom Crean, Dennis Felton, should be acknowledged for outstanding seasons, but it's ludicrous to leave Olson off any list.

And as Radtke so eloquently pointed out, the numbers back it up.

That said, personally I'm not real big on the whole awards thing. I mean, they make for great conversation, and on that level it's fine. In the end, however, the results are most important. Whether Olson gets nominated, wins the award, or gets completely overlooked, it's out of his hands. All he has control over is the performance of his team. And on that front, this season, Olson and the Wildcat coaching staff has been beyond reproach.

Next week, Schu talks about why Luke Walton should earn serious consideration for Pac-10 Player of the Year.


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