ATLANTA – The season that the Gallaudet University women's basketball team experienced set new program marks, propelled the program and University in the national spotlight and for those efforts coach Kevin Cook was recognized by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) as the 2011 Division III Region 3 Coach of the Year.
Cook, in his fourth season, guided the Bison to a 24-4 record as Gallaudet returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999. The 24-win mark ties the program record set by the 1998-99 team. This year's Bison started the season with a 20-game win streak, the longest such mark in program history, the best start in the history of the program that dates back to 1896. GU finished its first season in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) as co-champions with Keuka College as both squads finished with 20-2 conference records. Gallaudet hosted the 2011 NEAC tournament and advanced to the championship game where it fell to Keuka 50-46. The Bison earned one of the 20 at-large berths into the NCAA tournament. At the start of the 2010-11 season, the Bison beat its first nationally ranked team in No. 17 Lebanon Valley College for the first time in 12 years. Cook was selected as the NEAC Coach of the Year this past season while senior Easter Faafiti (Pittsburg, Calif.) was named the conference player of the year. Faafiti has also been named as an All-American honorable mention by the WBCA.
"The regional coach of year is quite an honor. I feel it symbolizes what we have accomplished at Gallaudet this past season," said Cook, who now sports a 47-56 record at Gallaudet. "I would like to thank the players and coaching staff for their effort and commitment! I view these kind of things as an award for the entire athletic department."
Cook and the other seven WBCA Region Coach of the Year recipients, who were chosen by their peers in their respective membership regions, along with four at-large selections were finalists for the 2011 Russell Athletic Division III National Coach of the Year award. Washington University in St. Louis coach Nancy Fahey took home the national coach of the year honor for the second time in her 25-year career, the last being in 2000.
Region 3 consists of teams from the Capital Athletic Conference, City University of New York, New Jersey Athletic Conference, Skyline Conference along with several teams from the Landmark Conference and North Eastern Athletic Conference because of geography.
About Russell Athletic
For more than 100 years, Russell Athletic, a division of Russell Brands, LLC, has supplied America's athletes and teams with the latest innovations to help them perform at their best and is a leading supplier of team uniforms at the high school, college, and professional level. Russell Athletic activewear and college licensed products are broadly distributed and marketed through department stores, sports specialty stores, retail chains, and college bookstores. For more information, please visit www.russellathletic.com. Russell Athletic is a trademark of Russell Brands, LLC. Russell Athletic, Proven on the Field of Play.
About the WBCA
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association promotes women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as a sport for women and girls. For additional information about the WBCA, please visit www.wbca.org.
2011 WBCA Division III Region Coach of the Year honorees
Region 1 - Judith Blinstrub (Babson)
Region 2 - Scott Hemer (Geneseo)
Region 3 - Kevin Cook (Gallaudet)
Region 4 - Mary Beth Spirk (Moravian)
Region 5 - Randy Tuggle (Greensboro)
Region 6 - Brian Neal (Thomas More)
Region 7 - Aaron Roussell (Chicago)
Region 8 - Randi Peterson (Coe)
The head coaches of teams that qualify for the NCAA Division III Women's Final Four who are not regional coach of the year selections are automatic at-large nominees for the award. At-large nominees by virtue of their teams earning berths in this year's NCAA Division III Women's Final Four were Nancy Fahey (Washington in St. Louis), G.P. Gromacki (Amherst), Carolyn Hunter (Christopher Newport) and Mia Smith (Illinois Wesleyan).