Who's your pick for MWC coach of the year? The trendy pick is Air Force's Troy Calhoun. He took the Falcons to an impressive 9-3 record in his first year, after AFA was picked to finish very close to the bottom in the pre-season. Air Force beat a very good Utah and TCU squad early, and then got some national air time by putting the hurt on Notre Dame.
They did, however, lose a tough game to Navy.
Oh yeah, and they got blown apart by BYU.
But, there's no doubt that Troy Calhoun is a great coach, and he'll have a great career at the Air Force Academy.
However, Calhoun falls a bit short of MWC Coach of the Year, in my humble opinion. To me, no one deserves that honor more than our very own Bronco Mendenhall. Mendenhall, even before the season started, had the toughest test of any coach in the MWC (besides maybe Gary Patterson from TCU - but Patterson couldn't rise to the challenge. TCU finished the season woefully below average): Rebuild a powerhouse program after losing virtually all of its offensive talent to the NFL/graduation.
In case anyone has forgotten, let me remind you that BYU lost John Beck, Jonny Harline, Curtis Brown, Zac Collie, MacKay Jacobson, Nate Meikle and on defense Cameron Jensen and our favorite undersized corner back Justin "J-Rob" Robinson.
He inherited a quarterback, Max Hall, who hadn't played in a meaningful game since high school - nearly four years earlier. Skeptics picked BYU to finish third in the MWC during pre-season voting, and rightly so: There were large shoes in BYU's locker room, and no one knew who was going to fill them.
Mendenhall remained confident, however, that a system was in place to produce success regardless of personnel.
Now, as the season winds to a close, we all know what Bronco knew all along: a system is indeed in place, and BYU will be successful for many years to come. The Cougars have mirrored last year's accomplishments with a 9-2 (soon to be 10-2) record, and they have done it with a completely new cast of characters. Mendenhall has taken a new crop of athletes and has led them to an incredibly successful season. More importantly, he has instilled a culture of winning.
Last year, BYU had a great team. This year, Bronco has built a great program. Bronco gets my vote for Coach of the Year.