The 2014-15 athletic year has all but come to a close, and that can only mean one thing: end-of-year awards. Beginning Tuesday, June 2, Inside NU will hand out seven different awards to celebrate the top players, coaches and games of the year in Northwestern sports.
Following a week of your voting, we have landed on our winners. And the first award will go to the Coach of the Year.
Kate Drohan, Softball - The Wildcats made the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time in their last 14 seasons but saw their postseason end quickly with a loss to Notre Dame. Even with the disappointment, it was another successful season for Drohan and her team, which won 17 of its last 19 games after a rough start.
Emily Fletcher, Women's Golf - Since Fletcher became NU's coach, the Wildcats have made six consecutive NCAA Regionals, and competed at their third-straight NCAA Championships this weekend. They entered this year's Championships ranked No. 14 in the country, and, heading into the fourth round Monday, are two strokes back of 8th-place, which would qualify them for match play. And oh by the way, Fletcher was named Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Tracey Fuchs, Field Hockey - Fuchs took over a struggling program in 2009, and in just five years has engineered a remarkable turnaround. This past season, NU made the NCAA Tournament and won a Big Ten regular season title for the first time since 1994. The Wildcats also upset Maryland to win their first Big Ten Tournament title ever. Fuchs' work ever since arriving in Evanston has been awesome.
Joe McKeown, Women's Basketball - McKeown took Northwestern to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997. When he took the job in 2008, the program was down in the dumps. No NU team had won more than three Big Ten games since the turn of the century, and multiple teams had gone 0-16. McKeown finally completed his rebuilding project in 2014-15.
Drew Pariano, Wrestling - It was another highly successful year for the NU wrestling team, led by Big Ten champions Jason Tsirtsis and Mike McMullan, which underlies how six Wildcats competed for national titles at the NCAA Championships, which is pretty remarkable. Pariano, a NU alum and coach of the team since 2010, is at the root of all the winning and the 15th-place overall finish for the Wildcats in the entire NCAA.
Joe McKeown, Women's Basketball
Thanks for your input. Find the rest of the winners here.