After his first season behind the bench of the Moose Jaw Warriors, Mike Stothers has been named the Times-Herald’s coach of the year for 2012.
In a year full of tough decision for our annual awards, this was one of the easier calls. Stothers received all four first-place votes from our panel of judges.
Shaune Gray and Colter Heron from the Central Cyclones boys volleyball team finished in second place, while Nigel Mullan from the Briercrest College men’s volleyball team was third.
The two volleyball coaching staffs split the second place votes.
Katie Brickman and Matthew Gourlie from the Times-Herald sports department voted along with Marc Smith from Golden West Radio (CHAB, Country 100 and Mix 103) along with James Gallo, the voice of the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Stothers, a 50-year-old who played in the NHL with Philadelphia and Toronto, came to the Warriors after serving as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Thrashers in the National Hockey League.
Stothers inherited a talented, veteran team and pushed them to the best regular season in the team’s history.
The Warriors were virtually unbeatable at home, posting a 30-3-2-1 record in Mosaic Place and claiming the East Division crown for only the third time. The Warriors title hopes were dashed when they lost to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference final. The Warriors won eight straight playoff games at one point during their run.
Gray and his Central staff saw the Cyclones win every tournament they attended before finishing second at the SHSAA 5A boys provincials. No Moose Jaw team had won a provincial volleyball title since the mid-1990s.
The Cyclones also won the Moose Jaw league title and won a regional title without dropping a set.
Mullan guided the Clippers to a 15-5 record as they finished second in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference standings. They were the top team in the ACAC at the end of December and earned the right to host the conference championship tournament where they lost in the semifinals.
Shannon Koshman from the Caronport Cougars girls volleyball team and Ray Wareham from the Moose Jaw Generals also received votes.