How You Could NOT Name Kenny Brooks as ACC COY Is Beyond Me


I am usually a big fan of the work of ACC Network analyst Kelly Gramlich because as a former player, she gets right to the heart of a matter when calling a game. Her analysis of what’s going on in a contest is extremely underrated by her broadcasting peers, and she doesn’t tell you what your eyes already see, she explains what you’re probably going to see next.

But she posted a tweet the other day that greatly surprised me. She said “My ACC Coach of the Year at this point is (Syracuse Coach Felisha Legette-Jack). She inherited a roster with 4 returning players just 2 years ago & now has the Orange in the hunt for the ACC Title. Incredible!

All of that is true. But I’m sitting here thinking “what then is Virginia Tech Coach Kenny Brooks? Chopped liver?”

Coach of the year balloting usually has a few biases. For example, last year Virginia Tech made it all the way to the final 4 and Brooks was not selected Coach of The Year. That honor went to Notre Dame’s Niele Ivey, and I understand the reason why. Notre Dame won the regular season title, and generally voters tend to make the coach of the team with the best record the winner. While the Hokies then won the ACC Tournament and advanced farther than any other team in the league, all that came after the voting was done. So I can see why that happened.

This year, Virginia Tech is in first place with a week to go, but Kelly likes Felisha Legette-Jack at Syracuse. Legette Jack did have a big turnaround two seasons ago for the Orange, taking them from a 4-14 record in the conference to 9-9 last season, but as mentioned, didn’t win COY with the honor going to Ivey. This year they’ve won 12 games in the ACC with several more to play, which is a nice increase over the previous year, but the Orange is still in second place to Brooks’ Hokies. And Virginia Tech in a head-to-head matchup beat Syracuse on their home court 75-62 a month ago.

People don’t say it out loud, but I’ve seen coach of the year balloting in other sports where voters don’t vote for the coach of a dominant team because that team has great players, reasoning how good a job of coaching could you be doing if you have a team of all-stars. But in the case of Brooks, he not only recruited these great players, but developed them to where they are.

Elizabeth Kitley was a heralded prospect because of her size and scoring ability, but under Brooks, her turnaround jumper has become as automatic as a Kareem Abdul Jabbar skyhook back in the day. Georgia Amoore went from “who’s she?” to one of the magical backcourt players in the sport through hard work and Brooks constantly pushing and teaching her to be the player she is.

The cool thing with both players is that in the age of social media and posting videos, fans have been able to see this transition as it has happened, with videos showing the film study and the one-on-one workouts Brooks has with his players. Brooks didn’t just recruit this team. He brought in the raw materials and turned them into a finished premium product.

So I don’t know how you could consider anybody other than Kenny Brooks for Coach Of The Year. He should have won it last year, but with the timing of the vote, I understand. But to not honor him this year just wouldn’t be fair. He has not only done an incredible job of coaching and teaching in Blacksburg, he has transformed the sport into one of the hot tickets every time they play a home game. He has been a force in the women’s game this season to a degree few others have been in the history of the game.

Kenny probably doesn’t care. But his players do. The fans do. Anyone who has found themselves converted from “I don’t really care about the women’s game” to rabid fan like I have care.

To overlook all this and name someone else COY would be a crime.


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