Queb's Corner: LSWA panel drops ball
A wise old man once said that the word “fair” is all too often misunderstood.
“Fair,” he said, had nothing to do with doing what was right and just. The word, he said, described a place where pigs went to get ribbons.
He went on to remind his pupil that not everyone thinks as he does and that no one should expect any different.
Which brings me to this:
This year, I had the privilege of watching a good friend of mine, Midland’s Todd Briley, guide his Rebels to their first state championship in 37 years.
It was a storybook season for Briley and the Rebels, who shared their 61-51 victory over Fairview in the Class B title game with the man who had taken Midland to its last and only other championship, Todd’s father Clyde.
Making the plot even better was the fact that the championship victory occurred in Todd’s final game as a head coach; next year he moves into administration at Midland.
So you can imagine my surprise — and disgust — when I received the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class B All-State release on Wednesday and Todd Briley’s name was NOT in bold letters under the header of Coach of the Year.
Nope, that honor went to Class B runnerup coach Ron Stark of Fairview.
Don’t get me wrong: Stark is an exceptional coach. In fact, he reminds me a lot of Briley: a coach who gets the most out of his players and isn’t afraid to take on opponents from bigger schools and do it on a consistent basis.
On top of that, Stark is a class act, which I know because I have covered a number of his matchups with Midland over the years.
Granted, his team won a whopping 33 games this year and lost just five during their run to the finals.
Commendable, for sure.
But here’s where I have a problem.
Three of those five losses were to Briley and the Rebels!!!!!!!!
You be the judge.
Curious about the selection, I decided to make a few phone calls and use social media (Facebook) to inquire as to how the COY honor was decided.
When contacting one of the TWO sportswriters who selected the Class B team, I was told Stark was chosen because it was the first year Fairview had made it to the title game.
But, oddly, Briley had guided his team to the 2010 state title game for the first time in his career and he wasn’t named Coach of the Year.
In fact, after doing a little research, I found out who was!
Are you sitting down?
It was Stark, who lost in the semifinals to Rapides.
Puzzled, I asked one of the two sportswriters who chose the team — did I mention he covers teams in Fairview’s district? — why that was case in 2010.
He finally responded and said that Briley wasn’t nominated for the honor — apparently then nor this year.
Now, from my understanding after speaking with sports writers from other papers — and a former Louisiana Sports Writer’s Association president whom I happen to know pretty well — nominations are for picking the All-State teams while MVP and Coach of the Year honors are normally discussed by a panel following the selection of the team.
Now, while some may send in nominations for those two honors, there is no etched-in-stone rule that says the award can only go to nominees.
In fact, with only a two-man panel, one has the power to do what’s right.
Maybe use a little common sense and avoid being labeled as a homer.
Let’s get this straight: In four years, a coach who has not won a title has won Coach of the Year twice!
I’m not saying that winning a title should automatically earn you the COY honor, but apparently that wasn’t even taken into consideration this year.
When a team hands the state runners-up three of their five losses, loses just three games itself and wins its school’s first state title in 37 years, shouldn’t that coach be worthy of Coach of the Year?
Only in a fair world, I guess.
But like the wise old man said: Fair isn’t about doing what’s right, it’s about ribbons and pigs and such.
The Louisiana Sports Writers Association dropped the ball on this one, pure and simple.