Maybe it’s because of the holiday season and the idea of giving is in the air.
I found myself thinking about coaches this week…the coaches who get paid, the coaches who don’t get paid enough and the coaches who volunteer.
Coaches who gave their time, their sweat, their energy and made a difference in 2015.
Keeping Patriots coach Bill Belichick off to the side (let’s face it, every list starts with him, right?) here are 10 coaches to remember from ’15…
1) Providence College hockey coach Nate Leaman: In April his Friars won the NCAA title and he became the youngest coach since Shawn Walsh to win the national championship. Today, I look at this year’s college hockey rankings and Leeman’s team is the only one without a loss so far.
2) Skowhegan HS field hockey coach Paula Doughty: I don’t pretend to be an expert on the sport of field hockey but I can count championships. And I count a 15th consecutive regional title in November. And, 13 state titles in those 15 seasons. Coach Doughty told me this year’s team may have come the greatest distance from opening day to state championship day.
3) Red Sox bench coach/interim manager Tory Lovullo: How would you like to take over running a team under the circumstances Lovullo took over the Sox? While John Farrell battled cancer, Lovullo guided the team to wins 63 percent of the time. He would not conduct manager press conferences in Farrell’s office because he felt it was not his space. It belonged to Farrell. At the end of the season, he gave up his chance to seek other manager jobs for a two-year extension to stay as bench coach.
4) Golden State Warriors interim coach Luke Walton: While Steve Kerr recovers from back surgery, this guy keeps the train on track. He’s coach of the week and coach of the month. Yet, in the eyes of the record keepers he gets no credit for wins. Huh?
5) Old Town Senior League baseball coach Troy Sheehan: I’m not sure there was a coach/manager who had more fun coaching than this guy. His all-star team played on the international stage at the Senior League World Series. No one was more at ease with himself than Troy Sheehan.
6) Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens: I marvel at this guy every game. That calm, intense, always-in-control demeanor. He took little Butler to the NCAA Final Four. He’s going to take the Celtics to the NBA Finals, too. Maybe this year!
7) UMaine football coach Jack Cosgrove: With all due respect to the Abbotts, Westermans, et al, he is the face of Black Bear football. Leading this program through the Yankee Conference, A-10 Conference and now CAA has not been easy. Has any sport changed more over the years than football? In some respects, it would have been an easier decision to just keep coaching. He didn’t take the easy road.
8) New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano: The former UMaine hockey defenseman has led this team from a somewhat laughingstock to playoff team. Now his team travels to home-away-from-home games in Brooklyn and they are still playing playoff hockey. In the whacky world of NHL coaching, only Bruins coach Claude Julien has more longevity with his current team than Capuano.
9) Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown: You try to coach under whatever they are trying to do there!
10) Every other coach who made a difference in 2015. You know who you are!