Best College Coach Phoenix 2009 - Herb Sendek
The former coach of the North Carolina State Wolfpack and 2004 Atlantic Coach Conference Coach of the Year has done the impossible, if not unthinkable, by putting ASU's beleaguered program back on the rails in recent years. Still, some contend he's not even the best skipper on his own campus, citing ASU baseball's Pat Murphy and ASU women's basketball's Charli Turner Thorne. Still others, gazing enviously southward, believe Sendek's star has been somewhat eclipsed by the University of Arizona's coup earlier this year in snagging recruiting whiz kid Sean Miller from mid-major powerhouse Xavier.
Nothing against Murphy, Turner Thorne, or former Sendek acolyte Miller, but in terms of pure coaching ability, Sendek rules the Arizona roost. There's no better whiteboard guru in the country, and his track record with the X's and O's in Tempe — hardly a basketball school — bears that out. Taking over for the hapless Rob Evans in 2006, Sendek led the Devils to the National Invitational Tournament in 2007 and the promised land, the NCAA Tournament, last year.
If Herb can keep a few of those blue-chip recruits from falling into Sean Miller's greedy hands — and ASU athletic director Lisa Love can keep other programs' greedy mitts off Sendek — this guy's got the hardwood chops to transform ASU into a perennial NCAA Sweet 16 entry.