LOUISVILLE, Ky. – National champion Jones County, third-place finisher Des Moines Area and Jackson were voted the winners of the 2018 NFCA National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Regional Coaching Staff of the Year honors, the Association revealed on Tuesday.
Head coach Chris Robinson, associate head coach Bob Herrington and assistant Katie Durham led Jones County to a 54-3 record and its first NJCAA national championship this season, which was also the first softball title won by a Mississippi school across the three NJCAA divisions. The Bobcats won 21 straight games to close the season on a mission after finishing national runner-up to LSU Eunice the past two years.
A home doubleheader sweep by Itawamba on April 8 was the only thing standing between South Region honoree Jones County and a 48-game win streak. The Bobcats’ only other defeat this season was a 2-1 neutral-site loss to Southern Union on Feb. 17 at the Sun Chief Classic in Alabama.
Meanwhile, Des Moines Area collected another Midwest Region award, after finishing third at nationals and being ranked No. 1 in the country for most of the regular season. The staff of head coach Bob Ligouri, and assistant coaches Daron Harris, Brittany Martin, John Wilkinson, April Brown and Thana Heller led the Bears to a 48-2 mark, with their only losses coming to Phoenix College over their final four games.
Des Moines Area captured their first 46 games in a row, and had 23 of those shortened by run rule, including seven straight from March 28-April 8.
In the East Region, Jackson’s 33-11 record set a school mark for wins in a season. The Jets’ only two losses in the postseason were to Lansing Community College in the District I tournament to just miss a berth to the national tournament.
The staff of head coach Jamie Vandenburgh, and assistants Tammy Bates and Mick Ream celebrated a program-best seven All-Conference players this season, and placed five on the nine-player All-Freshman team.
The NFCA NJCAA Division II National Coaching Staff of the Year will be announced on June 8.