Chad Warner named NABC NAIA National Coach of the Year
By Matt Green
KANSAS CITY – Shorter University head men’s basketball coach Chad Warner has been named the NAIA National Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), the organization announced Tuesday night at the 2012 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship awards banquet.
Warner, who was named the Southern States Athletic Conference Coach of the Year two weeks ago, picks up his first national coach of the year honor in his fifth season as head coach of the Hawks.
Warner was honored on the eve of his Hawks making their first-ever appearance in the NAIA national tournament. Shorter (31-2), the top seed in the tournament, opens the event tomorrow morning at 11:45 am ET against Life University (19-14) from Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.
“I am very humbled to win an award like this,” said Warner, who is 105-53 in his four-plus seasons at Shorter. “I know that I am not deserving of this award, but I am so thankful for the players, coaches and administration around me that have allowed us to enjoy this success.
“I truly give this award back to all the people at Shorter and in Rome that support us.”
"I know I speak for everyone in the Shorter community and in Rome when I say just how proud we are of Coach Warner," said Shorter Director of Athletics, Bill Peterson, who was in attendance on a special night for Shorter. "Not only is he a special coach, but he is also a special man. As this award shows, the job he does for our athletic program, and for our kids, is without peer."
Under Warner, Shorter’s men’s basketball program has developed into one of the best in the country – a process that came to fruition this season.
Entering the national tournament, Shorter’s 31 wins not only lead the NAIA, but are also the most in school history. The Hawks won their first outright conference championship since 1977 and two weekends ago, captured the program’s first SSAC Tournament championship with an 89-71 victory over Belhaven in the title game.
Shorter ascended to the nation’s No. 1 ranking on Jan. 16 for the first time ever and ended the regular season ranked No. 1 to garner the top seed at this week’s national tournament. The Hawks spent five weeks at No. 1, the most of any school that held the nation’s top rank this season.
Warner reached 100 career wins in Shorter’s 90-63 victory at Brewton-Parker on Feb. 18, the same day Shorter locked up the SSAC regular season championship. The Rome native has guided Shorter to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in 44 years.
“This has been a special team and a special year,” Warner said. “I hope that we can continue to play hard and as a team and take this year as far as it can go.”
Fans can follow tomorrow’s game on 95.7 WATG-FM The Ridge or by accessing the live webcast available via the link titled "LISTEN to Hawk Athletics" under FAN ZONE on the Shorter Athletics website. Live stats are available on Dakstats.
The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), located in Kansas City, Mo., was founded in 1927 by Forrest "Phog" Allen, the legendary University of Kansas basketball coach. Since it’s beginning, the NABC has continually worked to further the best interests of the game of basketball as well as the players and coaches who participate in the sport.