What makes a coach of the decade candidate? Let me see:
Let's face it, for head coaches it's all about raising the Cup. Sure, it takes a hell of a team to win a title, but usually that team will face at least one worthy adversary. At least one bit of turmoil. It's the great coaches who can mold a lump of clay potential into a vase of victory.
(The lights just turned out. Jim Carrey's chubby friend from The Truman Show just looked at coach Brooks with that, "wait, you're STILL making them do Herbies?" expression and people are barfing on the ice.)
Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno have a lot of great things in common, but there might be one similarity that gets them atop the coaching win ranks: no one in their right mind would fire them. Really, the two goals of any coach is to keep his or her job and win.
(Ted Nolan just nodded sadly)
3. Lemons to Lemonade-ability
Sadly, the third category decides an insane amount of Coach of the Year victories. Still, there are stretches where a good coach can make a ragtag bunch of misfits believe they can defeat the finest collection of Russian hockey players ever built.
(Whoops, wait, that's "Miracle" again.)
ANYWAY, while Lemons to Lemonade-ability isn't everything ... it does say something about a coach. So it at least should be in the discussion.
Not quite as good as championships, but they're pretty cool too.
Things that will NOT determine Coach of the Decade
1. Jack Adams awards
The sad irony of coach of the year awards is that the "of the year" is quite profound. Those guys lose their jobs like hot cakes. While trophies don't always go to the rightful owner, it's usually safe to say that the Norris trophy winner still had at least a very good season. That's why those awards are listed in those other posts.
But when Scotty Bowman's only won something twice, you know that it's either a) insanely difficult to win or b) being decided by sleepy journalists.
2. Sound bytes/looks/other superfluousness
John Tortorella might be a great quote; Ron Wilson fights with the media to the amusement of all. But those two have an equal opportunity to lose to bland coaches like Jacques Lemaire and troll-like coaches including Barry Trotz.
So, the idea of including coach of the year literally came to me within the last hour. Besides proving how dumb I am, it provides a big question: which coaches deserve to be considered for Coach of the Decade? I'd love to hear your suggestions. In fact, I think I might be in over my head so any recommendations would earn disproportionate friendliness.
(Screams to doubtful Herb Brooks: I AM A HOCKEY BLOGGER!)