Look, I'm not trying to tell the ME-GA 7 conference coaches who they should vote for conference coach of the year. There are a lot of great candidates. Jim Oddo of Catholic won another league title. Barry Shuford of Olympic built a team into a contender that should've surprised a lot of people.
But my pick for the conference coach of the year would be West Meck's Jeff Caldwell.
Now in his third season, Caldwell has given West Mecklenburg its best season since 2007, when the Hawks were 8-4.
West Meck (8-3) plays at Sweet 16 No. 14 Hough (9-2) in its opening round N.C. 4AA playoff game Friday night at 7:30.
Caldwell's first team in 2010 was 2-9. The year before he got there, West Meck was 1-10.
Caldwell's second team was 4-7 in 2011. Returning 12 starters from that team this year, including 6-4 junior QB Jalan McClendon, Caldwell thought West Meck could compete for a conference championship this season.
The Hawks finished third in the league behind Catholic and Olympic, but Caldwell appears to have West Meck firmly headed in the right direction.
If West Meck can beat Hough Friday, it would be the most wins by a Hawks team since West Meck (then called the "Indians") went 10-1 in 1988.
That's why if anyone asked me who I'm voting for in the league coach of the year race, I'm leaning -- heavy -- towards Caldwell.
West Meck year-by-year records since 1988 (provided by Carolina Preps)