In addition to Warner’s Coach of the Year selection, seniors Anthony Banks and Walter Hill were named second team All-State while sophomore Dedric Ware was named Newcomer of the Year in addition to an honorable mention All-State nod.
“It truly warms my heart to see our players recognized for their contributions to our school,” said Warner. “Anthony, Walt and Dede are all great players and I am blessed to have coached them. Any award that I am recognized for should be given right back to the players, assistant coaches and support system at Shorter.
“It is a special place.”
The Coach of the Year honor is the third for Warner, who has guided the Hawks to 129 wins in six seasons as head coach and was named both Southern States Athletic Conference and NABC NAIA National Coach of the Year last season, when he led Shorter to a school record 34 wins, the SSAC regular season and tournament championships, the national No. 1 ranking and a trip to the Fab Four of the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship.
This season, Shorter’s first as an NCAA Division II and Gulf South Conference member, Warner directed the Hawks to a 21-11 overall record, a National Christian College Athletic Association South Region championship and Shorter’s first men’s basketball national title with a 90-87 overtime win over Oklahoma Christian in the final game of the NCCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.
Warner has steered Shorter to three straight 20-win seasons.
“Chad is a great leader and a great coach,” said Shorter Director of Athletics, Bill Peterson. “The job he has done here at Shorter is truly unbelievable and this recognition only confirms what all of us here have known for a long time. He is simply one of the best coaches in the nation and we feel blessed to have him at our school.
“He is also a wonderful father, husband and son,” Peterson added. “Those of us that know him also consider him a great friend. We could not be happier for Chad.”
From a student-athlete standpoint, Shorter was well-represented on the All-State team with Banks, Hill and Ware picking up hardware.
Banks, who was named an NCCAA All-American and the NCCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Most Valuable Player after averaging 29 points during Shorter’s title run, was named second team All-State after he averaged a team-high 16.8 points and 7.9 rebounds in his final run with the Hawks. The 2011-12 NAIA All-American shot 57 percent from the floor and 73 percent from the foul line and scored 11 of Shorter’s 13 points in the overtime period in the win over Oklahoma Christian in the national championship game.
Hill, another 2011-12 NAIA All-America selection that was last year’s SSAC Player of the Year, picked up a second team All-State nod after putting up 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds this season. Hill reached the 1,000-point mark as a junior last season and departs Shorter with 1,512 career points in just three seasons with the Hawks.
Ware, who came to Shorter from Truett-McConnell, evolved into one of the most potent forces in the Gulf South Conference in this, his first season with the Hawks. The point guard averaged 14.8 points, 5.5 assists and 3.8 rebounds for Shorter, while recording several monster scoring games down the stretch, including a 27-point, six 3-pointer outing in the South Region championship against Southern Wesleyan and a 26-point explosion in the NCCAA national championship game win over OCU.
“I am so proud of our team for staying together through the adversity we faced this year, from the injuries to the challenges involved with our transition to D-II,” Warner said. “To see this team find its way and gel down the stretch is something that I will never forget as long as I coach.”
BASEBALL: Berry 7, Oglethorpe 6
Berry’s baseball team came out on top, 7-6, against Southern Athletic Association opponent Oglethorpe on Friday afternoon.
Right-hander starter Casey Gray (3-1) struck out a career-high 10 batters, and Alex McGill ripped two doubles and scored twice, finishing a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate.
Berry upped its overall record to 11-10 and 8-2 in SAA competition. Oglethorpe fell to 4-14 and 1-6.
After allowing a run in the top half of the first, Gray and the Vikings scored the game’s next seven runs. To begin the scoring, Zach Farmer drove a Cory Leff (0-4) pitch over the left field fence, a two-run home run, Berry’s first four-bagger this spring. In addition to fanning 10, Gray tossed six innings and allowed two runs (both earned).
With Gray out of the game after the sixth, Oglethorpe tagged Berry reliever T.J. Page for five hits and four runs in the seventh, making it a one-run game. Christian Champion and Danny Parrywould provide two and a third scoreless innings to close out the action. Parry induced a double-play grounder off the bat of Spencer Transue to end the game and earned his first career save.
Farmer, Grant Perkins and Austin Neely each notched two hits apiece for Berry. Nick Manai had four hits for Oglethorpe, and Transue added three.
“I thought we did a good job early,” said Berry Head Coach David Beasley. “Casey battled and had pretty good stuff. Christian Champion came in and pitched well, and then Danny Parry closed it down.”
BASEBALL: Valdosta State 10, Shorter 2
Shorter Baseball fell to Valdosta State on the road Friday afternoon, 10-2, in the first of a three games series with the Gulf South Conference rival.
With the loss the Hawks drop to 10-16 on the season and 5-5 in the GSC. The Blazers improve to 13-11 overall and 3-6 in conference play.
Valdosta State put five runs on the board in the second inning, and that proved to be enough as they held the Hawks to two runs on the day. In the inning, Shorter quickly recorded two outs, but the Blazers were able to take advantage of a Hawk mistake, scoring the first run as the result of a passed ball. Once the first run crossed the plate, Valdosta found its stride, connecting on four consecutive hits; the final blow was a 2-run homer from Matthew Fears. The Blazers added to the lead in the third to go up 6-0, with one run on three hits.
Fears added to his RBI total with a single in the fourth to make it a 7-0 game, and a double in the seventh to give the Blazers the 10-1 lead. He ended the day with four RBI and three hits.
Charlie Gillis scored both runs for Shorter; the first in the fourth inning, when he singled to lead off the inning and crossed the plate when Jesse Gavigan flied out. In the eighth, he led off with a walk and Walker Borneman brought him around with a single.
Russell Crosby started the game for Shorter, but was chased after just 2.0 innings, after giving up two runs on five hits. Broddie Orr entered in relief, allowing one run on three hits with two strike outs. The loss for the Hawks went to David Summerall; who pitched 3.0 innings, yielding seven runs on ten hits while striking out two.
Pete Whittingslow, earned the win for Valdosta State after coming on in relief of starter, Ben Watson, who left the game after 1.2 innings. Whittingslow went 6.0 innings, allowing one run on five hits.