Over the next few weeks, we are going to have a tournament to decide the greatest Michigan State coach in the university’s illustrious athletic history. We seeded the coaches that will be involved in this, but the readers will be the ones casting their votes to decide who moves on. There are a couple of things to keep in mind as we continue going through the first round. The first thing is that we try not to show any favoritism based on the whether or not someone coached one of the two major revenue sports, but being able to sustain success over time when coaches in men’s basketball and football tend to be fired more quickly than they do in the other sports carries a lot of weight. The second thing is that winning at least one national championship was also important when considering the seeds. Before we get to today’s match-up, here’s a look at the rest of the first round.
First round match-ups:
(8) Walt Drenth vs. (9) Chester Brewer
(3) Duffy Daugherty vs. (14) Forrest Anderson
(6) Mark Dantonio vs. (11) Rick Comley
(2) Biggie Munn vs. (15) Amo Bessone
(7) Jud Heathcote vs. (10) Charlie Bachman
(4) Ron Mason vs. (13) Gene Kenney
(5) Tom Izzo vs. (12) Grady Peninger
(8) Walt Drenth – Cross Country and Track and Field
Walt Drenth joined Michigan State in 2004 to coach the men’s cross country team and be an assistant coach for the men’s track and field team. In 2006, he started heading up the cross country and track programs for both the men and women. He was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year for women’s cross country in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014, and was also named the Coach of the Year in 2015 for outdoor track and field. In 2014, he was named USTFCCCA Women’s National Coach of the Year. While he runs four different programs, he has had most of his success with the women’s cross country team. The Spartans have won four of the last six Big Ten Championships. However, no season was better than 2014 when they won their first ever national title.
(9) Chester Brewer – Football, Basketball and Baseball
Much like John Macklin, Chester Brewer also coached football, basketball and baseball at Michigan Agricultural College. His stints at MAC were spread out, as he ran the football program from 1903-1910, and again in 1917 and 1919. He compiled a 58-23-7 record in his time with the Aggies, which has given him the 5th-highest winning percentage in school history. MAC became an independent program in 1907, but by that time Brewer already claimed two conference championships. He won 83.3% of his games in conference play, tying him for the highest conference winning percentage in school history with Clarence “Biggie” Munn, who is the two seed in our tournament. In basketball, he won 73.7% of his games, which gives him the highest winning percentage in school history for coaches who paced the sideline for more than 11 games (George Denman went 11-0 from 1901-1903). While he didn’t have the same level of success in his 10 years on the diamond, he still won over 50% of his games and had three seasons where he won at least 70% of MAC’s contests.
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