Mile High Sports

Mile High Sports Awards: College Coach of the Year – Finalists

From preps to pros, Mile High Sports recognizes the top athletes, coaches, executives and teams each year.

These outstanding individuals were among the best in their respective sports in 2017, earning nominations as finalists for the annual Mile High Sports Awards.

Check out the January 2018 edition of Mile High Sports Magazine to see who is named the College Coach of the Year.

College Coach of the Year Finalists

Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart
University of Denver, Gymnastics

Credit: John Baker

In her 19th season as the Pioneers’ coach, DU posted its best-ever finish at the NCAA meet (ninth place) and senior Julia Ross and freshman Maddie Carr both were named Division I All-Americans. Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart was named Big 12 Coach of the Year and North Central Regional Coach of the Year.

Russ Martin
Colorado Mesa, Football

Credit: Colorado Mesa University

While the top coach for years in the RMAC has been John Wristen at CSU-Pueblo, Mesa’s Russ Martin impressively earned his way into the conversation. The Mavericks were 9-1, sharing the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference with CSU Pueblo, before falling to Azusa Pacific in the Division II national playoffs. Martin was in his sixth season at Mesa, and it was the Mavericks’ third consecutive nine-win season. Additionally, Martin’s team boasted the RMAC’s Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Player(s) of the Year.

Jim Montgomery
University of Denver, Hockey

Credit: Carol McKay, University of Denver

The Pioneers improved their finish in the NCAA Tournament over each of Jim Montgomery’s first four seasons, culminating in a national championship in 2017. His team opened the 2017-18 campaign atop the NCAA polls and has remained at or near No. 1 through the first three months of the season despite one of the toughest schedules in the country.

Art Siemers
Colorado State University, Cross Country

Credit: Timothy Nwachukwu, NCAA Photos

The Rams finished ninth in the NCAA meet in Louisville, Ken. in November; it was the CSU athletic department’s 10th finish all-time among the nation’s top 10 in any sport. It also was the Rams’ top cross country finish since 1978. Art Siemers was in his sixth season as cross country coach and distance coach in track and field after 11 years at Colorado School of Mines.