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Schmitt served injustice
By SCOTT CHANCEY
, Sports Editor
Monday, April 14, 2014 12:00 AM
It's hard to imagine what more could be asked of a volleyball coach in his second year with a team.
Or, allow me to be more specific: a coach in his second year with a team — in its second year of existence.
After guiding the Erskine College men's volleyball team to an overall record of 12-15 and Conference Carolinas mark of 10-8 last year, Derek Schmitt guided the Fleet this campaign to records of 19-6 and 12-2 and the outright regular-season conference title.
But that isn't good enough for Schmitt to be named conference coach of the year?
Apparently not, according to the conference voters who just so happened to be the conference men's volleyball coaches.
Instead, another coach with noteworthy accomplishments was named: Barton's Jeff Lennox, who guided his third-year program — after it was picked to finish last this season — to an overall record of 11-16 and fifth-place conference record of 7-7.
Now, how is that accomplishment better than Schmitt's?
Obviously, something else was at play in the voting process. I have no idea exactly what was in play. But it doesn't matter because whatever could have been in play during the voting process should NOT have been a factor here.
What Schmitt did on the court during the past two seasons — especially THIS one — easily should have made him Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year.
"(Schmitt) deserved it," Erskine middle hitter Omar Melendez said not long after the Fleet beat none other than Barton 3-0 in Saturday's Conference Carolinas semifinal to clinch a spot in Wednesday's title match against Mount Olive. "We're a second-year program. Look, we're going to the conference championship game on our home court. Out of 14 conference contests (in the regular season), we won 12 times. He deserved it."
When Schmitt was asked about the vote after Saturday's win against Barton, he simply praised the job Lennox had done with his own team.
"Jeff has done a great job with them; they were picked last, and they really got better as the season went on," Schmitt said. "He did a really good job getting his team this far, to the conference semifinals."
Coaches, of course, at this point of the season, would rather deflect any attention that's on something besides his or her players' efforts on the court.
After all, Schmitt's Fleet have the chance to become the conference's team of the year by also claiming the Conference Carolinas tournament crown.
"We want to win the conference championship," Schmitt said. "We feel we have the pieces to do it. That's all that matters to us right now."
That, by the way, does not require any voting.
Chancey is sports editor at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 223-1813; e-mail email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @IJSCOTTCHANCEY . Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.
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