Earlier today, the American Hockey Coaches Association released its list of finalists for Division I Women's Hockey Coach of the year, and for the second consecutive season, BC's Katie King Crowley ("Kinger") made the list.
The criteria for being named a finalist is pretty cut and dried -- to make the list, you must either be named coach of the year for your conference, or lead your team to the Frozen Four.
Normally I would consider it pretty difficult for Kinger to win this award, just given the legendary coaches on the list as well (Wisconsin coach Mark Johnson says hello) -- but what she's done this year has been remarkable. Prior to this season, Boston College has had the undisputed best players in BC Women's Hockey history in Olympians Kelli Stack and Molly Schaus for four of the last five years. Stack and Schaus redshirted during one of those seasons. Can you guess which one?
(%)Coach King Crowley's first season as head coach
*Frozen Four Appearance
#Hockey East Champions
Okay, maybe that was a bit too easy. Stack and Schaus missed the 2009-2010 season to play with Team USA in Vancouver, but came back for their redshirt senior season to lead the Eagles to their best season in team history.
The concern going into this year is that the Eagles might possibly revert to mediocre status with the loss of two of the best players in the world. After all, with the exception of Kinger's first season at the helm, each year featuring Stack and Schaus became one of the best seasons in team history. But revert they did not.
It takes an exceptional coach to take the best season in team history and not miss a beat after losing two of the best players in the sport, and if there were ever a season that Kinger would deserve the title of Coach Of The Year, this would be it.
The 2012 winner is announced after the NCAA Championship Game this Sunday. It would be a nice bonus after BC takes its first NCAA title!