SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Where The Kids Still Matter

It's a hockey school, right, and perhaps even a skiing school. It's in a state never known for college basketball, that is, until the past couple of years. The school's coach has been there for 19 years, most of them not very successful. That's not to say he's not a good coach or a good guy. To the contrary, he's both of those things.

His name: Tom Brennan. His school: The University of Vermont. His best players: Taylor Coppenrath and T.J. Sorrentine.

It's not as though he and his school haven't gotten sufficient publicity. They've gotten tons of it. Last year, there were two feel-good stories in college hoops, or, at least, two primary ones. One was the story out of Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Joe Scott let the Air Force Academy Falcons to a highly improbable Mountain West regular season title playing, well, old-time basketball. The second was what Tom Brennan was doing at Vermont, with a storybook star in Coppenrath.

And the story continued into this year, elevating itself into the story, for two reasons. One is that the team is a veteran team, so expectations were sky high at the season's outset (especially after Coppenrath returned after a relatively short absence to nurse a broken wrist to lead his team to the America East title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament). The second is that their very much down-to-earth coach is retiring after this season.

Thanks to Andy Katz of espn.com for a great story about Brennan's last home game.

Kyle Whelliston of the Mid-Majority Report has urged his readers to adopt a mid-major come this time of the year and root for it to go as far into the post-season as humanly possible. Now that my Princeton Tigers are a long time gone from chances of post-season glory, I think that I'll cast my lot with the Catamounts.

It's kind of hard not to.

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