Best Local Sports Coach - 2009
Miami Dolphins fans haven't had much to cheer about since Don Shula hung up the clipboard. The list of coaches to patrol the sidelines has looked like this, in descending date and professional football coaching ability: Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt, Jim Bates, Nick Saban, and Cam Cameron. When Bill Parcells was brought in to turn the franchise around, one of the first things he did was hire Tony Sparano from the Dallas Cowboys to whip the Fins into shape. Sparano did way more than that in his first season, guiding the Dolphins to a ten-win improvement, a division title, and a playoff berth. Sparano changed the face of the NFL when he introduced the "Wildcat" offensive package. A few weeks later, almost every team in the league had its own option package, and every defensive coordinator had a whole new problem on his hands when dealing with the Dolphins. The upcoming season is sure to be brutal for the Fins, but after last year, there's no reason to believe Sparano can't lead them into a new era of respectability and realistic championship hopes.