2014 KHQA Boys Basketball Coach of the Year: KEITH CAROTHERS



Unity High School

RATIONALE: In this case, the fan vote was really all that mattered. Internally, the KHQA Sports Team was deadlocked between giving Andy Anderson his second COY nod here or awarding Keith Carothers his first. I am certainly not going to complain here about being let off the hook on a really tough decision between two extremely worth finalists. And in the end, the Mustang Boss eased past Anderson in the popular vote by just seven total votes. So we will take advantage of the mandate to praise the man who helped transform Mustang Basketball from a team that went 2-23 in his first season to a squad that has won 19 or more games the last three years running. And maybe that is the neatest hallmark of what Carothers has done at Unity. This was no overnight success story. Nor was it an easy rebuild. But consistent nurture and energy from the bottom up has produced a program, in entirety, that is improved at every level and is pumping well schooled future Mustangs through the system and to the varsity level. I know there were people in some corners who wanted to couch this as a Cinderella Story of sorts, but I am not sure this was accurate. Yes, Payson Seymour was the team most people in our area had earmarked for the Final Four but if you go back to our preseason predictions, we had Unity pegged as a Top Five Area Team with a First Team Preseason All Area Big Man in Lane Davis. So I think to paint this story in that fashion is to do these kids and their coach a disservice. This was more about a good team that maximized its opportunities and chances and played a style of basketball that made it very difficult to beat. To Coach Carothers credit, he has instilled an edge to his kids the last couple of years whereby the play with tenacity and grit and an absolute fearlessness of physicality. They will get in your face and challenge you at both ends of the floor. And they will do so with intelligence, because in truth, there are a bunch of high character kids and, truthfully speaking, a rogue's gallery of characters here as well. And to rekindle such fervor in such a sports loving/long suffering community is such a tremendous storyline, it was almost impossible to pass up. Give these kids and this Coach a ton of credit. They did really, really good for themselves and their school. And they have set a really high bar for Future Mustangs as well, many of whom were the young faces roaming those stands.

Runner-Up: ANDY ANDERSON, Canton

Viewer's Vote: KEITH CAROTHERS, Unity


Past Winners:

2013-Brian Rea, Payson-Seymour

2012-Ryan Wood, Marion County

2011-Jeff Abell, Winchester West Central

2010-Brad Tomhave, Pittsfield

2009-Clay Vass, Central Lee

2008-Jesse Crawford, Knox County

2007-Dave Phelps, Brown County

2006-Andy Anderson, Canton

2005-Steve Carvajal, North Shelby

2004-Brian Meny, Van-Far

2003-Steve Carvajal, North Shelby

2002-Scott Douglas, QND

2001-Darin Powell, Hannibal

2000-Sean Taylor, Macomb

1999-Hal Shaver, South Shelby

1998-Reno Pinkston, Nauvoo-Colusa

1997-Jeff Dahl, Warsaw