|Jalen Taylor (Piper)|
|Ryan Cobbins (Piper)|
If there was a decision that held up my announcing these awards this is the one. I don’t recall a time that so many underclassmen dominated to such a degree. My top 3 players in 2017 are Samia Roark of Sumner Academy, Ryan Cobbins of Piper and Ishante Suttington of Schlagle. I have not had a sophomore or freshman win this award in the past and only 1 sophomore in our brief history has won any of our major awards. I however think that the SHUKC area is witnessing something special with the talents of Ishante Suttington and Ryan Cobbins who both led their team to league titles and state appearances. I have a feeling that over the next two years this won’t be the last time I have to make this decision. My 2017 SHUKC POY is Ryan Cobbins of Piper.
Boys Coach of the Year
Vernon Birmingham changed my thinking on my coach of the year awards a few years back. Winning is always important and it would be easiest to measure that to know which coach stood out in any particular year. “Expectations” is also important. I follow the area closely enough to have an understanding of who could be good and set some expectations. Bryan Shelly of Piper and Prentes Potts of Schlagle fit the bill nicely for both of these criteria.
I knew in my head that Piper had a squad this year with the guards but I certainly didn’t think 20-3, but I knew a trip to state would be a requirement for Piper. Sweeping Basehor-Linwood was an incredible task for the Pirates but they got it done winning 3 times against them.
Prentes Potts had talent on the team but they blossomed under his leadership. I had zero expectations of a share of a league title nor a trip to state. So to make the 5A state finals is about as clear of an indication that Coach Potts motivated and got the most out of this special 2017 Stallions team. With that I am naming Prentes Potts SHUKC 2017 Boys Coach of the Year.
Vivian Jordan Coach of the Year
This is the only award that I have named in the memory of someone. My first or second year doing SHUKC I was really touched by the outpouring of love and admiration for Coach Vivian Jordan who passed away from cancer. The tributes for her spoke to what high school coaching should be about. Uplifting the kids and beating expectations.
This year from a league perspective went as expected. Schlagle introduced a new star to the area in Ishante Suttington and finally got over the hump to win a league title. Coach Western and the team were able to make it back to state. Piper steam rolled through the league and also went back to state. Two talented teams that essentially accomplished the exact same thing.
Meanwhile through out the season the scores would scroll and Bishop Ward girls were winning some games. A team a year prior that was 0-15 so obviously coming into this year were not even a blip on my radar. Bishop Ward finished 8-11 which marks a major turn around for a team that hadn’t won 8 games since 2010. Winning league and going to state are certainly top notch accomplishments but this year I am going to dig a bit deeper. Raising a program from dead gets my vote in 2017. Carrie Kaifes-Lally is our 2017 Vivian Jordan Coach of the Year.