OUA Coach of The Year Awards
It’s that time of year for the annual Coach of the Year awards on both the Men’s and Women’s sides ahead to the OUA finals this weekend.
So let’s take a look at the deserving winners courtesy of the OUA:
Coach of the Year (East) – Dave McDowell, Queen’s Gaels
With an OUA banner in tow and aspirations of a repeat intact, Dave McDowell takes home the 2022 OUA East Division coach of the year honour.
On the heels of an impressive season that ended provincially with a banner in hand, the Queen’s Gaels entered the 2022 campaign with high standards for another championship push. With guidance from one of the most decorated coaches in the game, the Kingston squad lived up to those lofty goals through the regular season with an undefeated 9-0-3 mark therein.
The long-time bench boss, now in his 34th season with Queen’s, led his team to a first-place finish in the competitive East Division, while seeing his squad lead the OUA offensively with 58 goals and sit second defensively with just six goals surrendered.
The accolade marks the eighth time McDowell takes home OUA coach of the year recognition.
Coach of the Year (West) – Martin Painter, Western Mustangs
A masterpiece season for Martin Painter earns the Western bench boss the 2022 OUA West Division coach of the year honour.
Serving double duty for the Mustangs soccer programs – also coaching the men’s team – Painter helped the Western women’s contingent produce a potent campaign. The London squad topped the West Division standings with a record of 9-2-1 and was a consistent part of the nation’s top-10 ranks. The reigning OUA finalists would finish the season with 29 goals scored (6th in OUA) compared to just 10 against, and were able to do a lot of damage off of their passing proficiency, ranking fourth with 18 assists as well.
This year’s successful stretch is nothing new for the London, Ont. native. Since becoming head coach for Western in 2012, Painter has led the Mustangs to five division titles, nine consecutive playoff appearances, and five silver medal finishes on the conference stage, including the most recent in 2021.
This marks the third time, meanwhile, that Painter has been tabbed as the division’s top coach – seventh overall for the Western program – with his other wins coming in 2013 and 2017, respectively.
Coach of the Year (East) – Ramin Mohammadi, Ontario Tech Ridgebacks
Beyond boasting the division’s top player, the Ridgebacks were also the top team in the OUA East, with 2022 coach of the year Ramin Mohammadi guiding the group from the sidelines.
Mohammadi led his team to the best record in program history and the top spot in the conference’s competitive East Division. With an 11-1 mark on the year, and the only blemish coming against the championship-bound TMU Bold, Ontario Tech was a mainstay among the national ranks. Backed by top seven marks in goals scored (27; 7th in OUA), assists (20; 3rd in OUA), and shot percentage (.243; 5th in OUA), the Ridgebacks were armed with a potent offence, but they also collected eight clean sheets on the year to put them second in that regard.
The Durham, Ont. local, who adds to the program’s list of firsts this season with their debut appearance on the coach of the year list, boasts an extensive background in coaching high-performance athletes provincially and at the collegiate level, helping lead his squad to five all-star selections this season. While having joined the Ridgebacks initially for their inaugural season, he also spent five seasons with the TMU women’s program as an associate coach and time with Ontario Soccer as a manger of player development.
Coach of the Year (West) – Carmine Isacco, York Lions
Helping to guide the West Division’s MVP and company was the corresponding coach of the year, Carmine Isacco.
Under Isacco’s watch in 2022, the Lions once again came through the regular season slate without a loss, a feat they have now accomplished in three of the last four seasons. The team’s only regular season blemish during that stretch came at the hands of Ontario Tech on September 15, 2021.
En route to the division’s top seed and the top ranking in the country for much of the season, the Lions pounced in front of the OUA pack in scoring with 41 goals on the year, peppering the opposition with a second-best 14.1 shots per game. While they are potent offensively, they also provided a stiff test defensively, racking up a league-best nine clean sheets on the year, surrendering just four goals in their 12 games.
Like the team he leads, the veteran coach is no stranger to winning. The award marks the eighth time Isacco has claimed the OUA’s divisional honour, which ties him for most all-time in York’s history (Merv Mosher). The Toronto, Ont. native is also a two-time U SPORTS coach of the year and four time recipient at the school level.