LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Guiding the University of North Alabama to its first National Championship, head coach Ashley Cozart and assistant coach Whitney Hawkins have been recognized as the NFCA’s 2016 Division II National Coaching Staff of the Year, announced the Association on Monday morning.
In winning their first national title, the Lions cruised into the championship series with three wins, and after a game one loss to Humboldt State, UNA topped the Jacks (10-1 & 4-1) twice on the final day. North Alabama was 11-2 in the postseason and battled out of the losers bracket in the NCAA South Regional. UNA had to win three straight elimination games over Saint Leo (1-0) and UAH (7-0 & 7-0) just reach the Super Regional round where it swept Rollins.
The Gulf South regular season and tournament champions recorded a program-record 60 overall wins and 30 victories in league play. Cozart’s program was an offensive force all season and finished as the top home run hitting team in Division II with 90. The Lions ranked high in several offensive categories- doubles (122 / 2nd), batting average, slugging (.583 / 2nd), (.353 / 3rd), HR/game (1.34 / 3rd), scoring (7.28 rpg / 4th) and on-base percentage (.418 / 6th).
Completing her third season as the program’s head coach, Cozart has posted a 136-39 record for a .777 winning percentage. The 2016 Gulf South Coach of the Year has led UNA to three straight NCAA tournament appearances and along with Hawkins was tabbed the NFCA’s Division II South Region Coaching Staff of the Year.