It’s time for a change in college basketball. It’s fairly petty, but there needs to be a change in the way awards are given in this great sport. This is in large part due to the extremely laughable decision to give a National Coach of the Year to Tony Bennett over John Calipari.
What made the decision even funnier was the fact it was presented a day after Virginia lost to a No. 7 seed and was ousted in the Round of 32 – the second year in a row Bennett’s team didn’t play to seed and the third time in five NCAA Tournaments.
Tony Bennett is a good coach, but to think he’s the National Coach of the Year – or the 3rd best coach in all of America (sorry, Andrew Beverly, that’s not true) is laughable. If you want to name it the most surprising coaching performance of the year, then sure, Bennett could make a case.
But, didn’t Virginia have the season many people expected, sans possibly winning the ACC regular season? The Cavaliers were a top-15 team in the preseason, projected to finish third in the ACC, and lost in the Round of 32. Seems like a season many projected.
The award Bennett won was voted on by the USBWA, which is led by Dana O’Neil and Pat Forde, two notorious John Calipari haters, especially Forde. In fact, all you have to do is Google Pat Forde and John Calipari and see what pops up.
So, maybe these people don’t value recruiting, which is as large a part of college coaching as anything else. Maybe these writers don’t understand just how hard it is to go undefeated – the Wildcats played 12 Tournament teams and the 46th toughest schedule in America according to KenPom.
The fact is John Calipari is the best coach in the game today. In his first six years in Lexington he rolled off an Elite Eight, Final Four, National Championship, NIT, National Runner-Up and an undefeated regular season. There’s not another coach in the country who can match that six year run, even with the NIT thrown in there.
Major awards in general are a laughable event, but it’s time to start honoring individuals for the work put in during a season. Let’s start doing it right and give out a true Coach of the Year opposed to a Surprise of the Year.
John Calipari, this vote’s for you.