Best Coach (2007)

Wayne Graham, Rice baseball

Who ever thought the small school out on South Main would ever develop a sports dynasty? Rice's best athletic days were thought to be mere nostalgia, but that's changed big time, thanks to coach Wayne Graham. College baseball has evolved into a sport for rich white kids (players who are poor and/or minority tend to head to the minor leagues out of high school), and Rice, with its reputation for academic excellence, is tailor-made for that demographic. Graham, a crusty old-timer who once played for Casey Stengel, is just as good a fit when it comes to coaching those guys. He's led the Owls to a slew of appearances in the College World Series, winning it all in 2003. He can be a bit hard on his pitchers — some of whom have had a hard time in the pros because of injuries — but what other coach in town is regularly expected to be competing for the championship each year?


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