5. Daryl Sutter- NHL Los Angeles Kings Head Coach
After being out of hockey for a year, Sutter was plucked from a ranch and hired in mid December of 2011 taking over an LA Kings team playing at .500 and led them to the end of the season with a 25-13-11 mark the rest of the way, earning the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. From there, Sutter’s Kings went on a streak the NHL had never seen before in its 119 years. They beat the #1, #2 and #3 seeds to get to the
Cup finals where they topped the New Jersey
Devils in 6 games to win the first Stanley Cup
in L.A.’s 45
year history. “He pushes the right buttons,”
said team captain . “One
problem we had as a team before he got here was getting emotionally attached to
games. He brought that emotional level up. You can do all the Xs and Os right,
but if you’re not emotionally attached, it’s real hard to win in this league.” Sutter’s buttons seemed to work. Too bad the
league followed this great story up with a labor lockout.
4. Dan Fisher- Concordia (Irvine) Women’s Head Volleyball Coach
Fisher took over a program in turmoil and in his first year, after starting the season 1-1, his Eagles won their next 36 matches in a row before dropping the finals of the NAIA Championship. How do you follow that up? You guessed it. Fisher’s Eagles finished up their season 38-0 with an NAIA championship. Consider the team won the title with the reigning NAIA Player of the Year on the injury shelf the last two weeks of the championship run. By his own admission, Concordia was never the most athletic team on the floor but they worked together and as the coach put it so eloquently, "We just needed to be better volleyball players,"
3. Ivan Lendl- Tennis Coach of Andy Murray
Murray had been a high level player knocking on the door for several years, but the hiring of Lendl in 2012 finally put the Brit to the top. At his home tournament of Wimbledon, Murray lost a heartbreaking match to Roger Federer but got his revenge a month later by winning the Olympic gold medal in London, topping Federer. A few weeks after that, he won the U.S. Open in New York becoming the first British player to win a major tournament since 1936. Murray says Lendl is the coach that tells him what he needs to hear, not what he wants to hear. The results don’t lie.
2. Marcio Sicoli- USA Beach Volleyball Coach, May-Walsh
It was as unprecedented as it was unexpected. Coming off achilles and knee injuries, and her partner a pregnancy and shoulder surgery, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings enlisted the help of old coach Marcio to help the third seeded team go a perfect 7-0 and win a third straight Olympic gold medal. Part of their success was their poise in tight matches. “I think the difference will be the team that's going to be able to be comfortable in those pressure situations, on 18-18, 19-19.” Sicoli said about their training. “I felt that our training and our psychological training has been doing really good for us."
1. Anson Dorrance- University of North Carolina Women’s Soccer Head Coach
Coach Dorrance won his 21st NCAA Championship in 29 years a few weeks ago. Let that soak in. It would be easy to rest on your laurels after a few, but blackjack? Dorrance continues to cement a coaching legacy that rivals NCAA names like Knight and Bryant and
He owns a 642-33-22 record at UNC and has build a dynasty that has also helped
feed the Summit
Women’s Olympic and World Cup teams. Dorrance, who is known for his competitive
cauldron, continues to recruit not the best soccer players but the most
competitive kids. In his famous quote, Dorrance defines the athletes he looks
for. “The vision of a champion is
someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when no
one else is watching. US
There were many other candidates in the conversation: USA Women's National Team Coach Hugh McCutcheon, Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly, the USA Women's gymnastics coach John Geddert and Texas women's volleyball coach Jerritt Elliot to name but a few. Let us know how we did. Contact us at Region Outreach with your feedback and suggestions. Thanks for reading!