Polling Shows Haith a Favorite in AP Coach of the Year Voting
COLUMBIA - After polling just more than half of the writes who vote in the Associated Press Coach of the Year honors, KOMU 8 Sports reports that Missouri head basketball coach Frank Haith is the leading contender among those voters for the award.
The award is given annually to a NCAA men's basketball coach, voted upon by members of the Associated Press before the start of the NCAA tournament.
KOMU 8 Sports got the voting preference of 33 of the 63 voting members. The list of all voters can be found on the AP' s website. Of the 33, Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith received 13 votes. Other coaches receiving votes included Kentucky's John Calipari with 7 votes, Murray State's Steve Prohm with 5 votes, Michigan State's Tom Izzo with 4 votes, Kansas' Bill Self received 2 votes, and Indiana's Tom Crean and Colorado's Tad Boyle each received one vote.
The AP members who told KOMU 8 Sports they voted for Haith were Joe Juliano of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bob Holt of the Arkansas Democrat, Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, Dave Borges with the New Haven Register, Kevin Dunleavy with the Washington Examiner, John Bohnenkemp of The (Iowa) Hawk Eye, Steve Walentik of the Columbia Daily Tribune, Jack Bogaczyk of the Charleston Daily Mail, Mark McCarter with the Hunstville Times, Terry Toohey of the (De;aware Co., Pa.) Daily Times, Steve Wiseman of the (Durham, NC) Herald-Sun, Nick Jezierny of the Idaho Statesman, and Joey Johnston of the Tampa Tribune.
The majority of members who told KOMU 8 Sports they voted for Haith said they voted for Mizzou's coach because he surpassed expectations. Many voters pointed out the team's distractions such as losing Laurence Bowers to injury and the allegations surrounding Haith's former employer, the University of Miami.
In an e-mail to KOMU 8 Sports, Terry Toohey of the Daily Times in Pennsylvania said he saw Missouri early in the season against Villanova. Toohey said, "I was very impressed with how hard they played, especially on defense. It was obvious that the players bought into what Haith was selling." Toohey went on to say that the choice was tough, "To be honest, it wasn't an easy decision. It came down to Haith and John Calipari of Kentucky, who has done a fantastic job...But I just felt that all Haith did to lead the Tigers to the Big 12 title (tournament) in his first season was more impressive."