1. Steve Keith (Vanderbilt) -- If they finish in the Top-10 at the NCAAs on Monday he gets my vote for the National Coach of the Year. Not only did the Commodores win their first-ever SEC title, this will be their first-ever NCAA bid. No international quick fix. This team was purely developed.
2. Karen Harvey (Florida State) -- The best women's distance coach in the country. In what was suppose to be a "rebuilding year" she has the Seminoles on the verge of a possible NCAA Championship. A podium performance is practically assured. If it wasnlt for such an amazing job by Keith, she would get my vote.
3. Mike Maguire (Michigan) -- Mike has the Wolverines inching closer to the podium after a few "down" years. Scorinig only 45 points at the Great Lakes Region on a fairly difficult course with a bunch of 800m-3000m kids, he has them living up to their potential heading into this year.
4. Helen Lehman Winters (San Francisco) -- Another team earning their first-ever NCAA Championships bid. They should have received on last year but were blocked by Cal. She has a couple of international studs, but has really done a great job of developing the program. The addition of track and field a few years ago has made a huge difference to this formerly cross country only program.
5. Paul Pilkington (Weber State) -- Making their first trip back to the NCAAs since 2006, Paul had them ready to race at the Region. They upset the BYU women at BYU to get pushed in. I cannot recall the last time that Weber defeated BYU at the NCAA Regional (maybe never)? This was a big step for the "other LDS" school.
6. Lou Deusing (Cornell) -- OK, so they didn't make it to the NCAAs, but had Lou known that his team would be this good, I think he would have scheduled better. They won their first-ever Ivy League (Heps) title over Columbia and finished an amazing 3rd at the NCAA Region. This is a team that deserves to be at the NCAAs.
7. Kevin Hadsell (Toledo) -- Ran short handed all fall until their conference, the Rockets have peaked perfectly. Huge win at the MAC and ran a gutty race at home to take down Wisco and Notre Dame and nearly beat MSU (8 pts). Return trip for Kevin's group after first-ever bid in '10 (28th). Team with no HS studs and no internationals. Purely developed.
8. Lance Harter (Arkansas) -- After a few disappointing seasons, Lance has the Razorbacks back in the hunt. He has done a great job of getting the young freshmen matured and developing his 800-1500m crew to believing that they can run cross country. A Top-15 finish and returning most of his team in 2012, this has been a great job by Lance.
9. Tony Sundooval (Cal) -- They started to show some promise last year when they blocked San Francisco from making the meet out of the stacked West Region. He has taken a huge recruiting class and added that to a very good team. This is their first trip back to the NCAAs in a long time (23 years).
10. Sean Cleary (West Virginia) -- Sean has the Mountaineers back in the hunt for the podium. They took a huge hit a year ago and redshirted a big group. With those redshirts back, he has really developed his program over the years. This year's team could be an outside shot at the podium due to their strengths up front and Sean's ability to get them ready when it matters.
Honorable mentions: Jim Stintzi (Wisconsin), Randy Thomas (Boston College), Walt Drenth (Michigan State).
Ray Traecy (Providence) -- Need I say more? How is this for karmaa? Sisson leaves Wisconsin for Providence. wisconsin is even better without her and makes it as a team while Sisson watched on Flotrack.
I hope to have my men's list tomorrow. Any thoughts?