The Howard County Sun's co-Coaches of the Year share several things in common -- their teams both won state championships, they tied 1-1 during their regular-season meeting, and both won their all-importantregional championship games in overtime.
But the coaching styles of Centennial's Bill Stara and Wilde Lake's Dave Nesbitt are quite different -- a beauty and the beast contrast.
Centennial Coach Bill Stara stresses defense and builds his team from the back forward. His game plan aims to make the narrow county soccer fields work to his team's advantage by stressing corner kicks and throw-ins.
The Eagles run the ball down the lines, protect the ball with their bodies and make opposing teams kick it out of bounds repeatedly. Sooner or later, the other team makes a mistake that results in a Centennial goal. Then the Eagles excel at falling back and creating a defensive shell to protect their lead.
It's the beastly style -- ugly but highly effective.
Nesbitt, 50, likes his team toplay a more offensive-minded style that stresses picture-perfect passing in the midfield and front line. It's the beauty style.
This year he had two superior offensive players, Hamisi Amani-Dove and MattNesbitt, his son. These players' superior skills could make that style succeed despite narrow fields.
Stara, 34, who played keeper at Behrend College in Erie, Pa., before a stint with the Pittsburgh Spirit professional indoor team, is as respected by his players as a highschool coach can be.
His teams have won 127, lost 17 and tied five games since he began coaching at Centennial in 1981. They won statetitles in 1983, 1984, 1987 and 1991.
He has also coached two national champion club teams, the under-16 Kick in 1982, and the under-19Jays in 1985. He coached the under-16 Challenge to the national finals in 1986.
His challenge this year was to take a team with a someweak players and devise a system to hide the weaknesses and promote the team's strengths.
He did that and also managed to bring his team back to earth after a midseason burst of overconfidence sparked several players to abandon his winning system to pursue their own agendas.
A comment by freshman midfielder Doug Ulman is typical of the respect bestowed on Stara: "He's the best coach I've ever played for.I learned more about soccer in three months from him than I learned in my previous nine years."
A case could be made against Nesbitt as Coach of the Year because he had the county's two best players. Butgreat talent doesn't always produce a winner, and he shouldn't be penalized for having great talent.
Nesbitt, like Stara, is highly respected by his players and has a lengthy coaching history.
This was his first state title team in three seasons of varsity coaching at Wilde Lake. He gets credit for reviving a winning tradition that saw the 'Cats capture four straight state Class 1A titles from 1981-1984.
He coached Soccer Association of Columbia club teams for 10 years, is a state coach for the Olympic Development Program under-17 girlsteam and also coaches the undefeated Columbia Cleats under-15 girls club team.
ense, forces mistakes