LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Six programs were selected by their peers as the 2017 NFCA NAIA Regional Coaching Staffs of the Year, announced the Association on Tuesday afternoon.
Representing each of the NFCA’s six NAIA regions, these respective coaching staffs – Bellevue University (Central), Brenau University (East), Marian University Indianapolis (Great Lakes), Columbia College (Mo.) (Midwest), Oklahoma City University (Southwest) and Southern Oregon University (West)- are now eligible for the NFCA’s National Coaching Staff of the Year award, which will be announced on June 7.
Oklahoma City and Southern Oregon are repeat recipients and will join Columbia College and Marian at the 2017 NAIA World Series, May 27-June 1 in Clermont, Fla.
Central – Bellevue University (Neb.)
Head Coach: Michala Cimino
Assistant Coaches: Kelly Cheshier, Jeanne Carpello
Volunteer Assistant: Aimee Supanchick
Record: 50-16 | 20-6 North Star Athletic Association
Earned an at-large big into the NAIA postseason field… Ranked 23rd in the final NAIA Coaches Poll of the regular season… The Bruins won the NSAA regular season title and was runner-up in the league tournament… Michala Cimino was named NSAA Coach of the Year, while Erin Sharpe earned Player of the Year honors… Kelli Fisher was voted Pitcher of the Year and Hannah Carter co-Newcomer of the Year.
East – Brenau University
Head Coach: Devon Thomas
Assistant Coaches: Gary Hatfield & Mike Ledford
Record: 52-7 | 26-0 Southern States Athletic Conference
Ranked as the No. 2 team in the NAIA Coaches poll heading into the postseason and was just one of two programs to reach the 50-win mark during the regular season… Set program mark with 52 wins, including a 31-game winning streak… Earned the No. 1 seed in the Alexandria (La.) Opening Round bracket… Collected Southern States’ regular season and tournament championships… First SSAC program to go undefeated during the regular season and added a 4-0 run to the tournament title… Freshman pitcher Kathleen Daniel was voted the league’s Freshman, Pitcher and Player of the Year, along with earning tournament MVP honors… Devon Thomas was selected SSAC Coach of the Year.
Great Lakes –Marian University Indianapolis
Head Coach: Scott Fleming
Assistant Coach: Mike Henderson
Record: 47-4 | 31-2 Crossroads League
Headed to its second straight NAIA World Series and will be the No. 3 overall seed… Ranked No. 4 in the final NAIA Coaches Poll of the regular season… As the No. 1 seed, swept through the Coast Mesa opening round bracket defeating Avila and Oregon Tech (twice)… Swept Crossroads Conference regular season and tournament titles… Garnered 11 All-Crossroads League honors, including Coach of the Year Scott Fleming and Pitcher of the Year Breena Smith.
Midwest – Columbia College (Mo.)
Head Coach: Wendy Spratt
Assistant Coach: Debbie Jameson
Graduate Assistant: Jordan Logan
Record: 46-5 | 23-1 America Midwest Conference
Advanced to the NAIA College World Series and is the No. 2 overall seed… It marks the 16th overall appearance at the World Series, second-most appearances behind Oklahoma City… Entered postseason ranked No. 3 in the NAIA Coaches Poll… This is the Cougars’ sixth 40-win season under Wendy Pratt’s guidance… Hosting the Columbia (Mo.) Bracket, the Cougars opened with a pair of overpowering shutouts against Cumberlands and Grand View before knocking off No. 2 seed Mobile (4-1) to advance… Spratt was named AWC Coach of the Year… Molly Carter was selected Player of the Year and Theresa DeCosty was named Newcomer of the Year.
Southwest – Oklahoma City University
Head Coach: Phil McSpadden
Assistant Coaches: Bobbi Bridges, Guy Cook, Harold Copas, Scott Gallagher
Record: 64-1| 28-0 Sooner Athletic Conference
NAIA’s overall No. 1 seed and has been nationally ranked No. 1 all season, a spot the Stars have held since the fifth poll of 2016 (13 weeks)… Only program this season with 60-plus wins and just one of two to reach 50 during the regular season… Second straight 60-win season and fifth consecutive with 50-plus victories… Defending champs are making their 29th appearance in the NAIA World Series… Sooner Athletic Conference regular season and tournament champions… Started the season 47-0 before falling to DII powerhouse West Texas A&M in game two of a doubleheader split… Head coach Phil McSpadden reached the 1,600-win plateau, the first coach at a four-year collegiate program to do so.
West – Southern Oregon University
Head Coach: Jessica Pistole
Assistant Coaches: Ernie Adams, Duane Pardue, Cheyenne Bricker
Record: 44-13 | 20-7 Cascade Collegiate Conference
Advanced to the NAIA World Series for the first time in program history… Rebounded from an opening loss in the Hattiesburg, Miss. Bracket to win four straight elimination games, including two on the final day against Southeastern (Fla.), the team that dealt SOU its opening defeat… No. 8 seed in NAIA World Series… Swept through the CCC tournament, including two wins over regular season champs Corban, to earn its first league tournament title… The 44 victories are also a program record.