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Five finalists for Prep Talk Coach of the Year unveiled

By Keith McShea

For the last few weeks, we have been counting down to the inaugural Prep Talk Awards on June 16 -- a week from tonight -- with a daily blog post on one of the 31 Prep Talk Players of the Year (that's one for every sport outside football and basketball). 

We're still counting down, but today is the coaches' day. 

Throughout the day, we'll be announcing the five finalists for Prep Talk Coach of the Year via the @bufnewspreptalk Twitter account, and we'll update this blog as well.

Finalists will be announced at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

All five finalists will be honored at the Prep Talk Awards on June 16 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, featuring Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Reed and Janet Snyder of Kiss 98.5.

The Prep Talk Coach of the Year will not be announced until the banquet.

The "Countdown to #PrepTalkAwards" will continue tomorrow as we begin to unveil the final Prep Talk Player of the Year honorees from the spring season.

* * * 

In his first year taking over for longtime, revered coach Pat Slater, Brent Brown kept the Randolph football program rolling along with an undefeated season which ended with the Cardinals' second straight Class D state championship. Brown was named the Buffalo Bills Coach of the Year following the season.

Olean's Jeff Anastasia continued his outstanding career with the Husky boys basketball team's second NYSPHSAA final four appearance in three years. Facing a challenging independent schedule, Olean was the top small school in The Buffalo News poll for most of the season and finished there for the third straight year. Anastasia should reach the 500-win mark for his career next season. 

Dan McDermott of Cardinal O'Hara oversaw a history-making run by the Hawks that concluded with just Western New York girls basketball's second state Federation championship and first since 1997. O'Hara, a small school promoted to large-school status in Class A due to its level of success, not only maintained its fine play but surpassed it. O'Hara was atop The News small school poll for the entire season, going undefeated against local competition before its run to the title.

The Nichols girls hockey team turned in one of the finest seasons of this high school sports year under Scott Welch. The Vikings (31-4-3) finished on top of the final winter Power 10 for a championship season that earned them a national ranking and included titles in the North American Prep Hockey Association and the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association and concluded with 17 straight wins.  

Not unlike the previous nominee, Mike Burke oversaw a Bishop Timon-St. Jude boys lacrosse team loaded with Division I talent and which played at another level thanks in no small part to a schedule which included some of the nation's top teams. Timon won its fifth straight Monsignor Martin Association championship. Its 18-5 season included at 1-2 mark against Ontario's Hill Academy, one loss to Boys' Latin of Maryland and two to Culver Military Institute of Indiana; Boys' Latin and Culver are ranked 1-2 in the national poll. 

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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN |