Arizona Sports' 2013 Year in Review: Executive of the Year
The Valley is blessed with very good sports general managers.
The arrival of Steve Keim and Ryan McDonough has given Cardinals and Suns fans hope for the rapid rebuilds of two previously floundering franchises.
Coyotes' GM Don Maloney has a proven track record of constructing competitive hockey teams on a shoestring budget and under the constraints of NHL ownership. With IceArizona taking over the franchise, the hope is that Maloney will thrive even more with newfound financial freedom.
And D-backs fans are hoping that Kevin Towers finds his past success and can pull the team out of a two-year stretch of mediocrity.
Our panel of voters considered all the options, and they've voted one executive at the top of the heap in 2013.
Keim, who has been with the Cardinals organization since 1999 in various capacities, was elevated to the position of general manager in early January and immediately started sweeping changes.
He hired Bruce Arians as the team's new head coach. He engineered a daring 2013 NFL Draft strategy that saw the team nab defensive back Tyrann Mathieu in the third round and running back Andre Ellington in the sixth round. He acquired quarterback Carson Palmer from the Oakland Raiders for a song and brought in starters John Abraham and Eric Winston on the eve of training camp.
In all, nearly 200 roster moves have been made since Keim took over -- a key ingredient in turning a team that went 5-11 in 2012 into a 10-win team still in the hunt for the playoffs just a year later.
Here's how our panel voted:
Tyler Bassett: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals
Dan Bickley: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals
Jon Bloom: Ryan McDonough, Phoenix Suns
Dave Burns: Ryan McDonough, Phoenix Suns
Paul Calvisi: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals
Jarrett Carlen: Ryan McDonough, Phoenix Suns
Dave Dulberg: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals
Doug Franz: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals
John Gambadoro: Lon Babby/Ryan McDonough, Phoenix Suns
Bryan Gibberman: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals
Adam Green: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals
Craig Grialou: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals
Vince Marotta: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals
Carter Nacke: Ryan McDonough, Phoenix Suns
Jules Tompkins: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals
Ron Wolfley: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals
Other Arizona Sports Year in Review Categories: Newcomer of the Year | Game of the Year | Biggest Story of the Year
Vince Marotta, Co-host - Bickley & Marotta, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com