Voting for top coaches isn#039;t easy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2005

So just who would you vote for if you had a ballot for college or NFL coach of the year? There are some obvious choices, but what about some not-so-obvious candidates?

In the college realm, Joe Paterno of Penn State brought back a program that had critics and fans calling for his retirement. There's no question Pete Carroll at Southern Cal should get consideration with a possible record third straight national title on the horizon.

But what about Charlie Weis at Notre Dame? Oh yeah, the Irish were tabbed no better than a top 40 teams, let alone a top 10. Weis was crazy to take this job. There's no way he can win this year because they don't have any talent.

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Weis has proven he can win which makes him a strong candidate, but he should win for something he did that matters more than the Xs and Os.

When Weis visited a dying boy and promised to run the play the boy called, then followed through with that promise despite being on his own 1-yard line, he practiced what coaches preach when it comes to integrity.

The same can be said for my NFL candidate. The Bengals Marvin Lewis or Colts Tony Dungy loom as the odds-on favorites to win the award, but what about a guy who has taken his team from the Super Bowl to not even making the playoffs?

The Eagles Andy Reid did more this season for coaches than he ever could by winning a Super Bowl.

Reid stood up and chose ethics over talent and winning. When Reid and the Eagles organization told Terrell Owens that he wasn't bigger than the team even if he was the best receiver in football, he sent a ripple through the league calling for everyone to follow his lead.

When a player tells an assistant coach to shut up and don't speak to me unless I speak to you first, or publicly chastises a teammate - especially someone with the character and heart of Donovan McNabb - and even picks a fight with others, it's past time to take a stand.

The problem with all of this is how quickly we forget.

Hey Charlie Weis, I admire the fact you kept your word to a dying 10-year-old boy you didn't really know, but I'm even happier that you won the game and keeping your word didn't cost us the game.

I'm proud of Andy Reid for standing up for what is right, but you better get back to the Super Bowl soon or you're fired. I love McNabb, but can't he just play through his injury.

The old saying that it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game has simply become an old saying. In today's world, it's not whether you win but by how much.

I'm still voting for Weis and Reid.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.