LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Six programs were selected by their peers as 2019 NAIA Regional Coaching Staffs of the Year, announced the Association on Monday afternoon.
Representing each of the NFCA’s six NAIA regions, these respective coaching staffs- Georgia Gwinnett College (I), University of Mobile (II), Vanguard University of California (III), University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (IV), Indiana University Southeast (V), and Marian University Indianapolis (VI) – are now eligible for the NFCA’s National Coaching Staff of the Year award, which will be announced on June 12. Mobile and Science and Arts garner their second straight award.
Georgia Gwinnett, Mobile, Vanguard, Science and Arts and Marian competed at the NAIA World Series.
Regional winners this season were:
Region I – Georgia Gwinnett College
Head Coach: Kat Ihlenburg
Assistant Coaches: John Ihlenburg, Tony Medders
Guided the Grizzlies to the 2019 NAIA World Series semifinals, the deepest postseason run in program history… The 45 wins are the third most in a single season… Captured three World Series victories… Achieved a top-10 national ranking… Won third consecutive I.A.A. championship… Ihlenburg was named I.A.A Coach of the Year.
Region II – University of Mobile
Head Coach: Alison Sellers-Cook
Assistant Coaches: Steve Alcorn, Kirstyn Joiner
Record: 52-13, 31-7 Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC)
As the seventh seed, posted 1-2 mark in their second straight appearance at the NAIA World Series… Sellers-Cook was named SSAC Coach of the Year… SSAC regular season and tournament champions… Posted the third most wins in program history.
Region III – Vanguard University
Head Coach: Beth Renkoski
Assistant Coach: Sony Mitchell
Record: 46-13, 20-4 Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC)
Punched first ticket to NAIA World Series since 2007 and fourth in program history… GSAC regular season champions… Renkoski named GSAC Coach of the Year… Ranked No. 8 in final NAIA regular-season poll.
Region IV – Science and Arts (Okla.)
Head Coach: Jadyn Wallis
Assistant Coaches: Kayla Adams, Ken Richardson, Chloe Clifton
Record: 59-4, 36-0 Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC)
Guided defending champs to NAIA World Series semifinals in 2019… Ranked NAIA’s No. 1 team all season… Started season 52-0 and set an NAIA-record with 59 straight wins, which included seven at the end of the 2018 campaign… Owned college softball’s longest active winning streak for the majority of the season… SAC regular-season champions… Wallis named SAC Coach of the Year.
Region V – IU Southeast
Head Coach: Joe Witten
Assistants: Kendra Deark-Witten, Bill Pierce, Brookelyn Visker
Record: 33-25, 13-5 River States Conference (RSC)
Defeated RSC regular-season champions Rio Grande twice and posted three elimination wins on the final day to capture the program’s first RSC tournament title… Made third NAIA Opening Round appearance in last four years under Witten.
Region VI – Marian (Ind.)
Head Coach: Scott Fleming
Assistant Coaches: Hannah Williams, Mike Henderson
Student Assistant: Morgan Burtron
Record: 54-3, 35-0 Crossroads League
No. 2 overall seed at the 2019 NAIA World Series… Started season 50-0 with first defeat coming in NAIA Opening Round… Captured Crossroads League regular season title… 54 wins, 50-0 start and .947 winning percentage are all program records… Fleming was named Crossroad Coach of the Year and the Knights swept all major conference awards… 47-0 start was the first undefeated regular season in program history.