Best Boys Basketball Coach 2014
Three rounds of voting, 306 coaches and a month of competition ended Friday with Shane Cowherd of Memorial (Edmond, Okla.) outlasting Joe Fenlon of Tampa (Fla.) Prep to be named America's best boys basketball coach. Cowherd, who received 1,831,735 votes in the final round alone, wins $2,000 for Edmond Memorial and will receive a trophy during a ceremony at the school.
There were 4,327,966 votes casts nationally in the final round and 6,160,903 overall. The final round became a two-man race between Cowherd and Fenlon in the final few days, as the lead changed hands multiple times. Fenlon, who advanced to the final round as a wild card, finished it with 1,526,949 votes.
Cowherd has compiled an 110-20 record in six seasons, winning state titles in 2011 and 2013 in Class 6A. He received 1,892,703 total votes combined in all three rounds of the best coach contest.
Fenlon and Cowherd were among 10 finalists that advanced from regionals. The eight regional winners were Frank Ostanik of Monroe Catholic (Fairbanks, Alaska), I.J. Pinkham of Boothbay (Boothbay Harbor, Maine), Brendan O'Connell of Eleanor Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.), Jack Doss of J.O. Johnson (Huntsville, Ala.), Dan Fleming of LaSalle (Cincinnati), Danny Fletcher of Rosepine (Rosepine, La.), Doug Robison of Billings West (Billings, Mont.) and Cowherd.
Joining those eight in the final round were two wild card entrants receiving the highest number of votes nationally without winning their region: John Mirabello of Northwest Catholic (Hartford, Conn.) and Fenlon.
There were 1,300,813 votes cast in the regional round alone, bringing the contest total to nearly 2 million votes. Pinkham led the country in the regional round with 127,886 votes, and Doss was close behind at 127,812.
USA TODAY High School Sports selected six active high school basketball coaches in each state and Washington, D.C. after more than a month of conversations with local media and other state/school officials with expertise. From there, the fans are deciding which boys basketball coach will emerge from a list of 306.
Fifty-three coaches advanced from the state round to the regional round. In the state round, Cedric Lane of Wenonah High School in Birmingham, Ala., received the most votes nationally with 56,889. More than 532,124 votes were cast nationwide during the state round.
The "Best Of" contest series launched in November 2012 with the first best high school football rivalry competition, won by Brookfield vs. Marceline in Missouri. The teams celebrated their national title rivalry on Sept. 13 in Brookfield.
In January, Hartford (Vt.) was crowned as the People's Champion high school football team. The monster of them all – the top high school mascot last spring – was won by the Centralia (Ill.) Orphans after 80 million total votes were cast during the competition.
Earlier this fall, the best high school football coach competition crowned Philip Haywood of Belfry (Ky.) as its champion. And the most recent contest, the second annual best high school football rivalry, went to the North Carolina small-town matchup of Bunn vs. Louisburg when voting wrapped up in December.