Sigi Schmid was named MLS Coach of the Year while San Jose's Darren Huckerby won the Newcomer of the Year award. These were probably two of the easier choices for voters as each person was more than deserving.
Schmid took a team that few were predicting to even reach the postseason and guided them to the Supporters' Shield title. Their 17 wins were four more than any other team and they really were hands down the best team in the league.
Other coaches did well during the regular season - Frank Yallop had an expansion San Jose team in playoff contention deep in the season, far longer than any of the other recent expansion teams; Jason Kreis took Real Salt Lake to the playoffs for the first time; Preki had to deal with a ridiculous amount of injuries and still took Chivas to second place in the Western Conference. But in the end Columbus' unexpected rise to prominence earned Schmid the award.
Huckerby, meanwhile, could have won the award by default. Any marginal performance from a newcomer could have walked away with the award as big-name additions like Marcelo Gallardo and Claudio Lopez were flops. But Huckerby had no marginal performance. He energized San Jose and helped lead a resurgence in the Bay Area. Huckerby quickly became a fan favorite and was one of the best players in all the league down the stretch, let alone among newcomers.