As we get closer to the greatest college tradition of all time, in which the world counts down to the singing of the Good Ol' Song, we can't help but to take a look back at the year and think about some of the great successes that UVa has had. With that in mind, we invite you to take part in our new poll, to the right, on which Virginia head coach deserves the 2009 Coach of the Year. These nominees combine for two national championships, three ACC championships, and approximately 1.8 million All-Americans and All-Tournament players coached. A look at the nominees after the jump.
Brian Boland, Men's Tennis: Coach Boland has taken Virginia Tennis to new heights, winning national championships for three years in a row from 2007-2009. In 2009, the Cavaliers went 30-0 before finally falling to No. 8 USC in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament. The team started the season ranked fifth in the country, quickly ascended to No. 1, and never looked back, winning the ACC Championship along the way. But even after the Hoos fell, the season rolled on, as Sanam Singh reached the semifinals of the singles tournament, and Dominic Inglot and Michael "Showbiz" Shabaz captured the NCAA Doubles Championship. Inglot and Shabaz are the first ACC duo to ever win the NCAA Doubles, and they did so going in as an unseeded pair.
George Gelnovatch, Men's Soccer: Still fresh on everyone's mind, Coach Gelnovatch, recognized by Soccer America as Coach of the Year, found his team with a school record 15 shutouts, two All-Americans and yet another ACC championship. Virginia fought their way into the championship game of the College Cup, where they faced an undefeated Akron squad looking to win its first national championship of any sport. Ninety minutes proved not to be enough, and after the two teams played twenty more, the game went into penalty kicks, where Stone Wall Diego Restrepo allowed only two kicks, while Sean Hiller came off the bench made what would become the winning kick after contributing exactly zero minutes in the first 110. Gelnovatch won his first national championship in his coaching career, and the sixth for the Virginia program.
Brian O'Connor, Baseball: Coach O'Connor led his Cavaliers to become ACC Champions as the lowest seeded team ever to win the tournament. The Cavaliers would go on to capture the crown for the "Regional of Death," which included the number one team in the country UC-Irvine, the defending national champions Fresno State, and MLB's overall No. 1 draft pick, pitcher Stephen Strasburg with San Diego State. It was the first regional championship in school history. Virginia would go on to defeat Ole Miss in on the road in the Super Regional to make to their first College World Series appearance. In Omaha, the 'Hoos fell to the eventual champions LSU, eliminated Cal State Fullerton, and fell to Arkansas in a 12-inning thriller. Coach O'Connor was recognized as national coach of the year.
Michele Madison, Field Hockey: Coach Madison led the Cavaliers to a school-unprecedented 20 wins this year and 24 games. She took the Cavaliers to a runner-up finish in the ACC Tournament and developed three All-Americans in Honda Award finalist Paige Selenski, Inga Stöckel and Michelle Vittese. The 'Hoos hosted the first and second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to North Carolina in a heartbreaking 3-2 result in the semifinals. Selenski and Vittese were named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team, and Coach Madison was recognized as Captain U's Coach of the Year.
Debbie Ryan, Women's Basketball: Coach Ryan notched her 700th career win this season and is one of only seven active coaches in the NCAA to accomplish such a feat. Only 12 coaches havve ever pulled in such a number. Always humble, Ryan took no credit in any of those 700 wins, saying that they belong to the players, the coaches, the administration and the University of Virginia. The Lady Cavaliers finished the 2008-09 season ranked 24th before getting ousted from the NCAA Tournament in the second round to Cal. Virginia is currently ranked 17th in the country and has the power of Monica Wright, an AP Preseason All-American and candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
Dom Starsia, Men's Lacrosse: Coach Starsia has put together a solid perennial powerhouse that threatens to win the national championship year in, year out. In 2009, Starsia had his team ranked No. 1 in the country for the majority of season and took the Cavaliers to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament. In the first nine games of the season, the high-flying 'Hoos outscored their opponents 126-54 en route to a 12-0 start and wins over five top-10 teams during that run. Virginia finished the season 15-3, a Tewaarton Trophy finalist in Danny Glading, and three Cavaliers drafted to the Major Lacrosse league -- Glading, Mike Timms, and Garrett Billings. Timms and Glading were also named Scholar All-Americans.