LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Head coach Alison Sellers-Cook, assistant coach Lauren Biediger and student assistant Jenny Laird of national runner-up Spring Hill College (Ala.) have been chosen as the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s NAIA National Coaching Staff of the Year, the Association announced on Tuesday.
The Badgers posted a 49-17 overall record in 2013, establishing a new mark for the most single-season victories in program history. SHC also finished as the Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament runner-up (lost 1-0 to Lee University) after entering the event as the third seed in the SSAC’s West Division via a 16-9 league mark.
Following a 6-4 loss to USC-Beaufort in NAIA National Championship Opening Round action, SHC ran off seven wins in its next nine NAIA Tournament contests. The lone defeats came at the hands of eventual national champion Concordia University (Calif.) in final site action at the South Commons Softball Complex in Columbus, Ga., by 1-0 and 8-3 scores. Spring Hill’s impressive 2013 campaign occurred after the program suffered through 12 and 18-win seasons and consecutive sixth-place division finishes in the SSAC during 2011 and 2012, respectively.
A former 2007 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Softball Coach of the Year, Sellers-Cook now possesses an overall record of 191-214 over eight seasons in charge of the Spring Hill College program. She had previously led the Badgers to the NAIA Region XIII Tournament in both 2006 and 2007, earning a GCAC Championship during the latter campaign.
For their work this season, Sellers-Cook, Biediger and Laird also reaped the NFCA East Region Coaching Staff of the Year award.
Other regional winners this season were:
West Region – Concordia University (Calif.)<
Head Coach: Crystal Rosenthal
Assistant Coaches: Rose Imbriano, Ashley Evans, Alex Ariaz, Brittany Pereda
Record: 52-3 (16-0 Golden State Athletic Conference)
In her fifth season as the head coach of the Eagles, Rosenthal (238-61 overall record) and her staff led Concordia (Calif.) to a stellar 52-3 overall mark, to both GSAC regular-season and league tournament crowns and to a perfect 7-0 record through the NAIA National Tournament in claiming the program’s first national championship. The Eagles were rated as the NAIA’s No-1-ranked team from the March 19th release through the end of the regular season before finalizing its stock as the top team in the nation via the NAIA title.
Midwest Region – Central Methodist University
Head Coach: Pat Reardon
Assistant Coaches: Gene Reardon, Ross Dowell, Steve Siebert, Kenya Fuemmeler, Ashley Flemming
Graduate Assistants: Audrey Crabtree, Kayla Yount
Record: 35-12-1 (18-1 Heart of America Athletic Conference)
Central Methodist swept the Heart of America regular-season (third straight crown) and tournament titles for the second consecutive season. That earned the Eagles a third overall trip to the NAIA National Tournament, during which they posted a 1-2 record in opening round play. The honor marks the second straight year and third time overall that Reardon and his staff have earned the NFCA Midwest Region accolade, having done so previously in 2008 and 2012.
Southwest Region – Oklahoma City University
Head Coach: Phil McSpadden
Assistant Coach: Bobbi Bridges
Record: 51-15 (20-4 Sooner Athletic Conference)
Oklahoma City finished the 2013 campaign ranked fifth nationally as the runner-up for both the Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles, posting 51 victories with 20 of those coming in SAC play. The Stars earned a bid to the NAIA National Tournament, eventually advancing to final site play at the South Commons Complex in Columbus, Ga., where they went 1-2 while being eliminated by league rival Lubbock Christian in Game 13 of the event. McSpadden and Bridges earned NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year and Southwest Region honors in 2012.
Great Lakes Region – Cornerstone University
Head Coach: Jim Farrell
Assistant Coaches: Kim Zainea, Adam Kirkpatrick
Student Assistant: Kaycee Kuiper
Record: 32-6 (14-2 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference)Cornerstone won the WHAC regular-season title with a 14-2 mark as part of an outstanding 32-6 overall record in 2013. The Golden Eagles campaign ended short of a NAIA National Tournament berth, however, as the league’s top-seeded squad suffered upset losses during the WHAC tournament to fourth-seeded Aquinas (2-6) and third-seeded Madonna (1-6) to be eliminated from the event with a 2-2 mark.