As 2015 comes to a close, we Wisconsin sports fans lived through a year of great triumph, utter disappointment, and change. Without further ado, a look at our state awards for 2015.
Team of the Year: Wisconsin Badgers Men’s Basketball
I don’t think anyone can argue with this one. Coming off an epic Final Four run in the 2013-14 season, the 2014-15 Wisconsin Badgers lived up to expectations, winning the Big Ten and getting all the way to the National Championship. Led by Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, Josh Gasser, and more, Bo Ryan’s last full season team will likely go down as the Badgers best team in history.
Runner-up: 2014-15 Green Bay Packers
Player of the Year: Frank Kaminsky
This one is a close call between the two best players in their respective sports (Kaminsky named Naismith National Player of the Year and Aaron Rodgers named NFL MVP), but it’s hard to take this one away from Frank the Tank. Averaging 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, Kaminsky anchored the Badgers all the way to the National Championship. Drafted 9th overall by the Charlotte Hornets, Kaminsky has been playing consistently in the NBA.
Runner-up: Aaron Rodgers
Coaches of the Year: Bo Ryan and Jason Kidd
I had trouble picking between these two, so why not give it to them both? Bo Ryan retired just last week, but he obviously deserves this accolade alone for his work getting the Badgers back to the Final Four. Jason Kidd brought the Milwaukee Bucks to new heights in his first season as head coach, winning 41 games (26 more than the previous season, second best in NBA history) and bringing a new attitude about this Bucks team in Milwaukee.
Runner-up: Mike McCarthy
Executive of the Year: John Hammond
Kidd’s success would not have been realized without the Bucks general manager, who landed Kidd in a trade, signed big man Greg Monroe, drafted Jabari Parker, and helped pave the way for “Owning the Future” to become reality. Hammond may have struggled his first couple of seasons figuring out what to do with the Bucks’ roster, but the young and talented foundation is now there. A lot of Hammond’s success should also be given to the Bucks owners and president Peter Feigin, who really helped push the arena bill all the way through and got it passed.
Runners-up: Ted Thompson, Barry Alvarez
Best Performance: Sam Dekker, NCAA Tournament
Dekker, who frankly disappointed Badgers fans up until his junior and last season, became a legend in Madison after his performance in the NCAA Tournament, particularly against Arizona and Kentucky. His game-clinching three against Arizona will go down as one of the biggest shots in Wisconsin basketball history.
Runner-up: Joe Schobert vs. Iowa
Best Newcomer: David Stearns
There’s no secret anymore in Milwaukee that a Brewers rebuild is happening. After trading much of the team away, Doug Melvin stepped down after 13 years as the Brewers’ GM. Through a vigorous interview process and a long search, owner Mark Attanasio and management chose Stearns as their guy. The 30-year old has already done a fantastic job replenishing the Brewers’ farm system, and this man is the key to franchise’s success in the next five years.
Runners-up: Greg Monroe, Paul Chryst
Broadcaster of the Year: Ted Davis
This award of course goes out to Davis for his excellent work covering the Bucks on the radio, but more importantly, for his efforts in getting the Bucks to stay in Milwaukee. Davis worked extremely hard on Twitter and the radio lobbying for the Bucks, which cannot be overlooked. His dedication to the team on and off the air stood out to me this season.
Runner-ups: Matt Lepay, Brian Anderson, Jim Paschke
Goat of the Year: Brandon Bostick
Possibly the grand goat of them all, Bostick dropped an onside kick that would have sent the Packers to Super Bowl 49. You hate to pin something on one guy, but he wasn’t even supposed to go for the ball; he was supposed to block for Jordy Nelson!
Runner-up: Joel Stave
Bust of the Year: Corey Clement
Through the injuries and the off the field issues, Clement’s absence from the field really hurt the Badgers football team this season. Wisconsin probably would have knocked off Iowa back in October with Clement on the field, and we will see if he even plays in the Holiday Bowl.
Runners-up: Michael Carter-Williams, Eddie Lacy, Kyle Lohse/Matt Garza
Game of the Year: Wisconsin beats Kentucky in the Final Four (38-1)
Just watch the highlights and get all the feels.
Runner-up: Bucks defeat undefeated Warriors (24-1).
Play of the Year: Rodgers to Rodgers – The Miracle in Motown!
Moment of the Year: Favre’s Number Retired and Starr’s Last Time at Lambeau
Runner-up: Bo Ryan retires
Photo of the Year: Badgers Celebrate Knocking Off Kentucky