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 Professional Coach of the Year.

Professional Coach of the Year Finalists

Bud Black
Colorado Rockies

Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In his first year at the helm at Coors Field, Bud Black turned in the third-best record in Rockies franchise history and returned the club to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. He did so with a starting rotation consisting of primarily rookies, as more than 57 percent of his team’s 162 games this year were started by pitchers in their first Major League season.

BJ O’Hara
Denver Outlaws

Credit: Jerome Miron-Pretty Instant

The Outlaws have been a force to be reckoned with in Major League Lacrosse ever since BJ O’Hara’s promotion to head coach for the 2014 season. In his very first season in charge, the Outlaws won their first MLL championship. Their second followed in 2016. Although 2017 ended on a more disappointing note, as the Outlaws lost in the championship game, O’Hara led his team to a league-best 9-5 regular season record. The Outlaws were also the second-highest scoring team, and allowed the fewest goals.

Aaron Schneekloth
Colorado Eagles

Credit: Standout Imagery

Aaron Schneekloth retired as one of the best players in Eagles history. If he can replicate what he’s already done off the ice for the Eagles, he might retire as one of their best coaches, as well. In his first year coaching the team Schneekloth led the Eagles to a 47-20-2 record, good for second place in the division. The Eagles caught fire in the playoffs and finished the season as ECHL Champions.

Rick Sweet
Colorado Sky Sox

Credit: Paat Kelly

Manager Rick Sweet has over 30 years of experience managing minor-league teams. Over that time, Sweet has managed farm clubs for seven different MLB franchises and won two International League Manager of the Year awards. 2017 was Sweet’s best year with the Sky Sox, as he turned them from a losing team to one that owned the best record in the American Northern Division and made it all the way to the Pacific Coast League semifinals.