Finnel named Coach of the Year

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton’s Brian Finnel was recently named Wisconsin’s Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Brian Finnel wanted a state championship.

Middleton’s boys cross country coach got exactly that, when the Cardinals won a state title in October. Then Finnel — and Middleton’s entire program — got a little bit more.

Finnel was recently named Wisconsin’s Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

One boys’ coach and one girls’ coach from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia were honored for their successes during the fall of 2017, as selected by a committee of experts from around the nation. Dodgeland’s Barry Smanz was the girls’ winner in Wisconsin.

The winners from each state are now in consideration for the association’s National High School Cross Country Coach of the Year award. One boys coach and one girls’ coach from all of the states will be selected by a panel of experts and be announced later this month as the national winners.

“I feel very honored to be recognized as the Wisconsin Boys Coach of the Year and it's neat to be considered for US Coach of the Year,” Finnel said. “Much of the credit of course goes to the boys, who had a magnificent year.”

Finnel, in his just his second season as Middleton’s head coach, guided the Cardinals to their first state title since 1992. Middleton finished with 76 points to easily outdistance runner-up Stevens Point (177).

Middleton’s 101-point margin of victory was the largest in state history at any level.

Coach of the Year winners were selected based on their teams’ performances throughout the 2017 cross country season. Among the factors taken into consideration were team score and placement at the state championships, margin of victory, performance against rankings if available, individual championships, and how their teams’ performances stacked up to previous years (e.g. first title in school history, consecutive titles, etc.).

“The guys really have embraced what it means to ‘work hard’ and are seeing big dividends from it,” Finnel said. “I'm hopeful our younger guys see what the upperclassmen have accomplished and make it their mission to keep the amazing things going for our cross country program.”

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