STARKVILLE, Miss. – The National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced the three winners of the 2012 NJCAA Division II Regional Coaching Staff of the Year award on Tuesday. 

2012 NJCAA Division II National Champion Phoenix took home honors in the south region this year. Head Coach Heinz Mueller and assistants Cassie Creswell-Miller, Christa Pfeninger and Hank Schrader guided the Bears to their ninth national championship and the eighth with Mueller at the helm.

Phoenix finished the 2012 campaign with a record of 57-16 and picked up the Region 1 title en route to the national crown. The Bears won the title the hard way coming out of the elimination bracket to win three games on the final day, including beating defending champion LSU-Eunice twice to win the crown.

Muskegon’s coaches won the award in the east region this year. Head Coach Matt Houseman and assistants Kelsey Bandstra, Tom Galloway, Colleen Morse and Ryan Schalk lead the Jayhawks to a 44-12 clip this season and an appearance in the national tournament.

To get to the national championship, Muskegon won both the MCCAA title and the Region XII-A championships by beating rival Kalamazoo Valley. The Jayhawks topped the Cougars in the championship game of both the conference and regional tournaments and took five of eight from Kalamazoo in the season series.

Rounding out this year’s honorees were the winners from the midwest, Southwestern Community College (Iowa). Head coach Lindsay Stumpff and assistant Jamie Dardis presided over the Spartans’ run to the Region XI championship game.

Southwestern went 43-21 in 2011 and advanced to the Region XII tournament. The Spartans won their first three games to advance to the championship, but fell twice to Des Moines Area CC to close out the season.

All three coaching staffs are now eligible for 2012 NJCAA Division II National Coaching Staff of the Year, which will be announced by the Association on June 15.

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