Well, since he's primarily comparing the Badgers situation to Minnesota's, well, I suppose he has a point that Eaves might be Big Ten coach of the year. In that case, he's really only competing with Red Berenson..and this season, that's probably a comparison he might actually win.
In my opinion it's a no brainer that Eaves has already locked up the coach of the year award by the results this team has shown. If anyone projected the Badgers to be this good, this soon after losing all they lost is lying. Look no further than down 94 West at Minnesota where they can't seem to get it together despite bringing in top 3 recruiting classes year, after year.
But in the WCHA? Good golly. Schwartz asks if "anyone projected the Badgers to be this good"? How good are the Badgers? Well, they're fifth in the WCHA (even before UNO swept the Badgers this weekend). Wee. Where were they projected? The media predicted them to be, well, fifth. The coaches, seventh. In other words, big whoop. They are pretty much what people expected them to be. Good, but not great. Does that make Eaves coach of the year? Hardly.
Who should get it? Well, there's still nearly two months of hockey to play, so it's premature to even discuss it at this point. UNO's Dean Blais has to be mentioned here. UNO was picked eighth (coaches) and ninth (media), so being in a tie for third place (just two points out of first place) is an impressive achievement. Denver's George Gwozdecky also deserves a mention here, not to mention North Dakota's Dave Hakstol.
Nationally? Even more ludicrous. How about Jeff Blashill at Western Michigan? Picked to finish 10th in the CCHA, the Broncos are in 4th place in their conference and 15th nationally, as Blashill and former Mav Rob Facca have Western rolling in their first season.
I say this not so much to argue about the relative merits of various coaches, but rather about the fan base at Wisconsin. Around here, we're not really familiar with them...but we're going to learn about them pretty quickly as both the Mavs (in hockey) and the Huskers (in all other Big Ten sports) will be facing off against the Badgers on a regular basis. Needless to say, if all Wisconsin fans share this same myopic and delusional vision of their programs like some of these hockey fans, it's pretty obvious that the rivalry is going to be rather spirited, to put it nicely.
In the meantime, I think the only thing Eaves has "locked up" at this point is that Minnesota's Don Lucia won't get more votes than him in any "coach of the year" polling.