With just over a month left in the A10 season, the race to win this year’s coach of the year title is heating up. So many good teams reside in the A10 that multiple coaches find themselves deserving, but only one can take the award home. A lot of basketball remains to be played, but lets take a look at the top candidates at this point in the season.
1. Will Wade – VCU
To start this year, Wade did not find himself widely expected to compete for A10 COY, but some crazy things have happened. The Rams non conference play proved less than stellar, they finished it with an 8-5 record, but were unable to pick up any signature wins. By this time VCU fans seriously missed Shaka Smart and some doubted Wade’s abilities. Once conference play started, however, the Rams made a drastic turn for the better. They have won a remarkable 11 straight games and currently remain undefeated at first place in conference play. This has catapulted Will Wade into the top spot for A10 COY so far. The Rams will look to continue their dominating success tonight, taking on last place La Salle in what should become their 12th straight win. VCU will have to fight off teams like Dayton and Saint Joe’s, but if they go on to win the regular season title, it might be tough to not give Wade coach of the year honors.
2. Archie Miller – Dayton
It’s about time Archie wins A10 coach of the year! All he has done the last two years at Dayton is go to the Elite 8 then make it to the round of 32 with no player over 6’6″. This season he appears to have the Flyers ready to make another big time run in March as they sit with an impressive 18-3 overall record and an 8-1 mark in conference play. Dayton hosts VCU in the last game of the regular season. Assuming they both keep up the great play, that game could have huge implications. It might not only have the A10 title on the line, but a coach of the year title as well. The Flyers are ranked 24 in the country and hope to move up with a win at George Mason on Saturday.
3. Phil Martelli – St. Joseph’s
The surprise team in the A10 this year is undoubtedly St. Joe’s. They were expected to finish middle of the pack going into this season, but currently hold an 18-3 overall record and remain 3rd in the conference. Martelli has done a great job with the Hawks so far as they have certainly over achieved popular opinion. They rid a nice seven game win streak into tonight when they take on St. Bonaventure. The only doubt remaining around this team is that they do not have a signature win. However, if they snatch a win against the Bonnies tonight, this question mark should be erased, propelling them higher on bracketologist’s lists. So far this season, Martelli has worked wonders with the Hawks, if they finish the A10 season strong, he just might wind up winning coach of the year.
Mark Schmidt – St. Bonaventure
The Bonnies currently sit with an overall record of 13-6. They have impressed this year and certainly have talent. Unfortunately, they swung and missed at opportunities for great wins against Dayton and VCU. They get another chance tonight though as they play at St. Joe’s. A win there combined with a strong finish and anything can happen for Schmidt’s team.
Mike Lonergan – George Washington
The GW Colonials certainly have some talented players and hold on to a 16-5 overall record. A recent loss to Richmond has taken them from a possible nine seed to the bubble, but they have no reason to worry. With Davidon, VCU, St. Joe’s, St, Bonaventure, and Duquesne marking their next five games, this team clearly has the chance to prove themselves by picking up some very solid wins. By finishing the regular season strong, they can get back into the NCAA tournament picture and put Lonergan back into consideration for A10 COY.
Jim Ferry – Duquesne
Led by their gifted guards, the Dukes currently have a 15-7 record. Both making the NCAA tournament and Ferry winning COY seem like a long shot at this point, but if they can somehow win #24 at Dayton Tuesday night, everything could change. A lot of basketball to be played, the race for both the A10 title and COY title will certainly be exciting!