Yesterday Baseball America awarded its 2011 Coach of the Year award to University of Florida head man Kevin O’Sullivan. The same Kevin O’Sullivan whose UF team lost 2 out of 3 regular season and 2 out of 2 National Championship Series games to Ray Tanner’s South Carolina Gamecocks.
When a team that is described with words like “scrappy” and “overachievers” whips a team that is described as “loaded”, don’t you attribute a tremendous amount of that to coaching? Call me biased, because I am, but are there any unbiased observers out there besides Baseball America that can honestly say Kevin O’Sullivan did a better job than Ray Tanner in the 2011 season?
Now look, I’m not real big on preseason or postseason awards. I don’t really care, and I’m certain Tanner and his two rings care even less. But the Twitter exchanges of BA’s Aaron Fitt – a good writer and excellent ambassador for the college game – really got my temperature up. A sampling:
Um, “spread the love”? What happened to giving your “Coach of the Year” award to the actual “Coach of the Year”? So Ray Tanner has won it twice, it’s time for somebody else to win? Why don’t you just go the way of Little League these days and give every coach a COY trophy? YAY, WE’RE ALL WINNERS!
Honor great coaches – check.
Who did great coaching jobs – check.
Have built elite programs – screeeeeeeeeeeeech!!!
Part of the Coach of the Year award is to honor a coach who has built a great program? That’s up to the universities, and it’s called a pay raise and contract extension.
If that’s part of the criteria, then the guy who probably did the best coaching job in the country – Cal’s David Esquer – shouldn’t have even been considered given his program was almost put in the dumpster a few months ago.
If he deserves it, then yes.
Fitt also had a tweet in there where he blasted Gamecock fans who strongly disagreed with him, but in the interest of keeping the peace with the G-Nation he apparently removed it.
My disclaimer is this – nobody is out to get us. This is not personal. There is no great conspiracy against the University of South Carolina, its athletes, coaches or fans.
In awarding its 2011 Coach of the Year, Baseball America quite simply swung and missed.