LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Angelina College, the 2014 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I national champion, has been voted as the NFCA’s NJCAA Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year, the Association announced on Friday.
Winners of NFCA NJCAA DI Regional Coaching Staff of the Year honors (and thus becoming eligible for the national voting process) were: South Region – College of Central Florida; Midwest Region – Angelina College; West Region – Arizona Western College.
Under the guidance of head coach Mark Mattson and assistant coach Barbara Mattson, Angelina College (42-12) entered the NJCAA DI championship event unranked and as the No. 10 seed before eventually becoming the first team from Texas to win the title via an 8-5 victory over the College of Central Florida (Patriots). The Lady Roadrunners picked up momentum on the diamond at the right time, reaching the title round by battling past seventh-seeded Southern Union State (7-6), 15th-seeded Jefferson (4-3), 14th-seeded San Jacinto-South (8-2) and eighth-seeded Central Florida (4-2). Needing just one victory in two opportunities, during a rematch against the Patriots, to win the championship, AC lost the first game, 6-2, before rebounding to secure the deciding contest and the crown, 8-5.
The College of Central Florida, guided by head coach Kevin Fagan and assistant coach Mike Lingle, registered an outstanding 48-15 mark and earned the No. 8 seed for the NJCAA DI National Championship. The Patriots went 3-1 in reaching the national title round with victories over ninth-seeded Lake Land (4-3), top-seeded Arizona Western (6-0) and fourth-seeded Chattanooga State (4-2). Unfortunately for CCF, it dropped two of three games (including a 4-2 semifinal decision) against eventual champion Angelina to complete the year as the national runner-up.
Led by head coach Nikki Bethurum and assistant coaches Mark Garcia and Miguel Villarreal, Arizona Western College (49-9) earned a bid to the NJCAA DI National Championship for the first time since 2001, qualifying as the No. 1 overall seed. After getting off to a solid start in the event via a 5-1 victory over 16th-seeded Spartanburg Methodist, the Lady Matadors suffered consecutive shutout losses to eventual national runner-up College of Central Florida and seventh-seeded Southern Union State in being eliminated.