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After much deliberation, I have decided that the coach of the year must be Rex Ryan. I’m kidding, of course. In reality, the leading candidates are Gary Kubiak, Jim Harbaugh and Tom Coughlin.

Kubiak, head coach of the Houston Texans, watched his team come in first in their AFC South Division for the first time, make their first playoff appearance and win their first playoff game. The Texans eventually lost to the Baltimore Ravens, but they had an outstanding season. Just a year ago, Kubiak barely escaped being fired, after finishing the season 2-8.

The Texans had the 3rd best offense in the AFC this season, thanks to quarterback Matt Schaub, wide receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster. However, they also had the 3rd worst defense. Kubiak and the Texans were able to bring in Wade Phillips to be their defensive coordinator, changing the defense from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4 scheme. They then drafted defensive end J.J. Watt and linebacker Brooks Reed to strengthen their flimsy defense. This year Kubiak led the Texans to a 10-6 season.

Since becoming head coach on Jan. 7, 2011, Jim Harbaugh has led his San Francisco 49ers to 14 victories and four losses with a 13-3 regular season record. Harbaugh’s two greatest achievements have been finding a way to incorporate quarterback Alex Smith into the offense and making a nearly impenetrable defense. He accomplished the second feat by bringing over defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, whom he worked with while head coach at Stanford University. He also drafted Aldon Smith, who was the best rookie defender this year.

The first accomplishment was even more impressive, though, as he took an athletic, yet unexceptional, quarterback who isn’t meant to be the star of the show  and made him work. Smith had only five interceptions, but he also had a pathetic seventeen touchdowns, which is about one per game on average. He cannot be the staple of the offense.

Fortunately, Harbaugh got him out of a slump by using his own skills, the skills of his former quarterback coach Geep Chryst, who he brought on last January, and by providing competition in the form of rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Kyle Williams and Ted Ginn, Jr. were helped out by rookie running back Kendall Hunter, who Harbaugh selected to back up Frank Gore. Harbaugh formed an amazing squad, taking them from 6-10 to 13-3 over the course of 12 months.

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin got his team back on track after it was derailed by a Week 10 road loss to San Francisco. Three more straight losses occurred before Coughlin’s “Road Warrior” Giants were able to defeat the Cowboys in Arlington and pick their momentum back up, thanks to a blocked field goal by linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul.

He makes his team study, he makes them practice hard and he has created a good atmosphere for them to do it in, unlike certain New York coaches. This Sunday will put him and his team to the test as they try to win the Super Bowl.

After comparing these coaches, it was clear that Harbaugh should be the coach of the year. Few thought that the 49ers would win the NFC West with a 13-3 record this year. Nobody thought that Alex Smith was going to last as a starting quarterback in the NFL after multiple lackluster seasons. Harbaugh proved everyone wrong.

Ondo is a member of the class of 2014.

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