Secretly, I was hoping someone would mention Siena's 1994 NIT run that ended with a third-place finish and Doremus Bennerman earning Most Valuable Player honors. It may only be the NIT, but beating the likes of Georgia Tech and Kansas State is no joke. But I guess that if it's not the NCAA Tournament, it doesn't mean a thing " even if Saints fans crowded onto trains to fill up Madison Square Garden during the NIT Final Four.
3. Who is the greatest Siena men's basketball coach?
1. Mike Deane " 43 percent
2. Fran McCaffery " 34 percent
3. Dan Cunha " 11 percent
4. Bill Kirsch " 6 percent
5. Paul Hewitt " 3 percent
At first, this looked like a runaway for Mike Deane when he raced out to a big lead. But Deane had to fend off a furious rally by Fran McCaffery to lay claim to this honor.
Frankly, I was a little surprised by this result. Granted, Deane's rEsumE is very good with 166 wins, an NCAA Tournament appearance and three NIT appearances, but he never guided the Saints to consecutive NCAA Tournaments like McCaffery has. And McCaffery had more wins in his first four seasons in Loudonville (85) than Deane (81). Of course, Deane's 1989-90 Siena team had to make the transition from ECAC North to the MAAC, which probably cut down on the number of wins it had that year. But the voters went with Deane " at least, for this year.
As for the other coaches on the list, I was glad to see Dan Cunha get some votes. Not many people remember that Cunha guided Siena to four 20-plus win seasons during a five-year stretch from 1947 to 1952 and earned the school national recognition. We'll have to see if McCaffery can match Cunha's feat over the next two years.