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Letter From the EditorEnvelope Please ...
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Another football season has come and gone and as usual, many new faces have come to the forefront and many older faces have remained steadfast and stoic.
The turbulent world of coaching tests a mans soul and strengthens his resolve ... yet by season’s end the truly great have stepped to the plate and performed. Each year American Football Monthly proudly presents the Schutt Sports Coach of the Year award to an accomplished, dedicated and respected coach that has proven his worth both on and off the field. And with each winner comes a vast array of debate that would make any water cooler in America run dry. After all, this year – like every other – has a myriad of coach of the year possibilities. There are at least a dozen candidates in the Division I-A ranks alone.
The fact is, of all the names, such as Guy Morriss, Tyrone Willingham, Pete Carroll, Kirk Ferentz, Mark Richt, Dennis Franchione, Rich Rodriguez, Chuck Amato, Mike Price, Gary Patterson and national champion winner Jim Tressel, one name stands out – Miami’s Larry Coker.
Perhaps Auburn legend, Pat Dye, said it best when speaking with him in November when he said, “What’s the first thing you want to do when you climb to the top of the mountain? I tell you what ... you want to sit your a** down and rest. What you should be doing is looking for another mountain to climb. Now, that is a lot easier said than done, but it is exactly what Larry Coker and his staff did down in Miami. They found another mountain to climb and they climbed it.”
Coker and his staff certainly did not rest on their laurels as they remained creative in their game preparation, play calling and off-season workout regime to guarantee themselves a shot for a second national championship in just two years. Although Miami came up short in its quest for back-to-back titles, Coker’s performance (24-1) is the greatest job of coaching for a first-time head coach since Walter Camp led Yale to a 28-0 record during his first years as a head coach back when people still rode horses to work (1888-89). Not bad, huh?
“You know, it is hard to get to the top,” said Texas Tech icon Spike Dykes. “But it is a whole lot harder to stay on top. Larry Coker has done a great job. How can anyone go wrong choosing him for coach of the year honors?”
Sure, valid arguments could be made for each and every candidate, but in my opinion, Larry Coker has done a remarkable job of not only coaching his players the game of football, but also managing his players throughout the minefield of both college football and life. These are not your father’s Hurricanes. No front-page scandals ... no pregame fights ... no classless taunting – just business. And that is what Larry Coker is all about.
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