They prowl the sidelines, looking for every available advantage and begging their players to leave it out on the floor. They work the refs, make last-minute game decisions and fret over every turnover.
Every year, a few stand out as examples of excellence in what, for many coaches, is a largely-thankless profession. Coaches who are able to find a spark and fan it into a flame of success that lasts throughout the season deserve to be noticed.
Here's a look at the top candidates for coach of the year honors as we head into the last week of the 2010-11 regular season in college basketball.