Coach of the Year: Danielle Cooley, LeRoy
Why: Directed the Panthers to their winningest season ever, 25-5, which marked the third consecutive year the program won more games than the previous season. The fifth-year LeRoy head coach teaches in the LIFE program (Living In a Functional Environment), an independent living, community-based program for special education students.
Season highlight: LeRoy upended the state's top-ranked Class 1A team in the super-sectionals (Annawan) and went on to finish fourth at state, the school's best finish ever in the sport. "I knew when the seniors were freshmen it was a special group," Cooley said. "The win over Annawan will always be the best basketball game I have ever witnessed."
A few of my favorite things: Kroger's, they double coupons ... TGIFridays ... Ozzie Smith ... A minivan and I'm proud to admit it ... "How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days" and "Beauty and the Beast" ... Go to Hawaii and go on an African safari.
About Coach Cooley: "She's young, so she can relate to what we're going through. She knows how to motivate you but doesn't sugarcoat it. She made everything cohesive for us. She was an All-American in college (twice at Carl Sandburg) and that speaks volumes about her knowledge." — senior Molly Marcum, the Panthers' scoring leader