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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Year in Review: Arizona’s top coaches

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Mike Christy
The University of Arizona football team takes part in morning practice Friday, Aug. 20, 2010, at the Rincon Vista Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats look to reach a bowl game for the third season in a row with quarterback Nick Foles at the helm. (Photograph by Mike Christy)

Sean Miller – MEN’S BASKETBALL

Yes, Arizona missed the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years, but don’t blame Sean Miller. The 43-year-old head coach has done a masterful job since arriving in the desert, and this year might have been his best work despite not making the tournament.

The roster Miller had to work with last season had no business even making a run at the NCAA Tournament. Yet, with a 6-foot-7 center, a small forward at the four, a freshman point guard facing off the court issues, a handful of injuries and no true go-to guy, the Wildcats were just a few plays away from going dancing. That’s a testament to Miller and his ability to maximize his players’ skill.

Then there’s Miller’s recruiting prowess. He landed the No. 3 class in the country. Gabe York, Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett and Kaleb Tarczewski are expected to contribute right away, and Miller would be hard pressed to find a better mix of four recruits. And that’s not even the end of Miller’s recruiting run. He also lured T.J. McConnell, who was a huge get for Miller, and landed an even more impactful transfer in ex-Xavier guard Mark Lyons.

– Mike Schmitz

Tim KishFOOTBALL

When Mike Stoops was fired last October, it had been nearly a year since the Arizona football team had won a Division I game. Interim head coach Tim Kish’s modus operandi taking over was to end that streak and start with a clean slate, but it wouldn’t be easy. Stoops was fired two days after the Wildcats’ loss to the Oregon State Beavers and Kish was tested with the task of regrouping a shocked and emotional Wildcat squad in just 10 days, in time for its next conference matchup against the UCLA Bruins.

Kish aced that test. The reeling Wildcats came out and dismantled the Bruins, 48-12, and Kish got his first career win as a head coach.

Kish managed to lead the Wildcats to two more wins to finish out the season, including the defeat of ASU in Tempe, Ariz.

All Kish wanted to do was bring the fun back to Arizona football, and during his six games at the helm of the program, his players and fellow coaches would agree he did just that.

– Dan Kohler

Eric HansenSWIM

As a coach, it is hard to have an undefeated season in any competitive sport. But Arizona swim coach Eric Hansen was able to achieve just that in his first year at the UA.

Hansen, a former UA swimmer and assistant coach, was seen as a great individual to take the reins of the program after Hall of Fame coach Frank Busch.

Upon leaving the University of Wisconsin after 12 years of building the program, Hansen said he felt pleased to be chosen to continue building the prestige of the UA swim team.

This year, Hansen was able to take the Wildcats to an undefeated dual meet season where they beat the likes of No. 14 Iowa, No. 6 California, No. 5 USC, No .3 Stanford and No. 2 Texas. Arizona came in third during the Pac-12 Championships and placed fourth in the NCAA Championships.

– Christopher Cegielski

Andy LopezBASEBALL

Only three coaches in collegiate baseball history have taken three separate schools to the College World Series. Arizona baseball head coach Andy Lopez is one of them.

In their first season at Hi Corbett Field, the Wildcats have lived up to the hype. Under Lopez’s tutelage, they sit near the top of the Pac-12, one of the toughest conferences in the nation, bringing them ever closer to Arizona’s first conference championship since 1993.

After taking over the program almost 11 years ago, Lopez has taken the Wildcats to seven post-season appearances in the last nine seasons and will most likely take them to an eighth at the end of this season.

Lopez has developed countless numbers of big leaguers and his knowledge about the game is endless. He’s also a dynamite human being, who’s garnered the utmost respect from his players and his assistant coaches in his time at Arizona.

–Dan Kohler

Sean HoganHOCKEY

Head coach Sean Hogan had a full plate coming into his first season at the helm of the Arizona club hockey team.

The 33-year-old coach took over a team that had just parted ways with its founder and coach of 32 years, Leo Golembiewski, and even dropped the Icecats name.

The re-branded Wildcats (13-18-3) finished the season ranked No. 25 under Hogan’s direction, and had three wins against top-eight teams.

Arizona reached as high as No. 18 during the year and was in contention for the ACHA National Tournament for the first time since 2004.

However Hogan’s bid at making history in his first season was dashed by a tough late-season schedule in which the Wildcats lost eight straight games, all but bursting their bubble.

Now that Hogan’s system is in place and his own recruits are coming in, the second-year coach will be able to truly show his ability to lead a team.

It wasn’t a flawless first season in Tucson for Hogan, but the program showed progress for the first time in several years, earning him a spot among the Arizona coaching elite.

– Kyle Johnson

Fred HarveyTRACK AND FIELD

Head track and field coach Fred Harvey is in his 10th season as the director of one of Arizona’s most decorated sports programs. This year alone, Harvey has six athletes looking to represent the Wildcats at the summer Olympic games in London. Since taking control of the program, Harvey has coached more than 50 All-Americans, earning 14 NCAA Individual Championships.

Harvey’s style of coaching is centered on generating a successful learning environment for his team on and off the field. He emphasizes the importance of a solid coaching staff and honoring both components of a student-athlete. Harvey has dedicated his time and energy to what he calls an “Olympic readiness program” at Arizona.

– Emi Komiya

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