SGTC’s Frey nominated for 2020 NJCAA Division I World Exposure’s Women’s Coach of the Year, NJCAA Division I Women’s National Tournament postponed
South Georgia Technical College Athletic Director and Lady Jets head coach James Frey learned today that he was one of four finalists for the 2020 NJCAA Division I World Exposure Women’s Basketball College Coach of the Year. He also learned today that the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament has been postponed due to the current climate of the COVID-19 situation.
It was a little ironic that Coach Frey received both bits of news on the same day. “I appreciate World Exposure Women’s Basketball for naming me a finalist for National Coach of the Year. They have a fantastic service run by a college coach so to have a peer think highly of the work you put in is humbling,” said Coach Frey. “I know the other finalists very well. They are friends of mine and all very deserving of the honor. It is pretty cool to be mentioned along with quality people like them.”
Frey was nominated along with Bart Walker from Northwest Florida State, Chad Gibney of Western Nebraska and Cayla Petree of South Plains as the four finalists in the World Exposure’s Women’s Coach of the Year nominations. All four teams were set to tip off in the NJCAA Tournament next week. And the winner was set to be announced on March 16th at the NJCAA National Tournament.
South Georgia Tech’s Frey has earned the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year honors six times in his eight years as a head coach. His Lady Jets have earned a berth in the NJCAA National Tournament six of the eight years that Frey has been at the helm. His team is currently ranked sixth in the World Exposure Poll and seeded 11th in the NJCAA National Tournament. This season the Lady Jets have a 30 – 2 record, are fourth in the nation for three-point percentage shooting at 37.1, ninth in the nation for total rebounds per game with 48.8 and third in the nation for steals per game with 16.2.
Cayla Petree of South Plains was another finalist. She has guided South Plains to one of the best seasons in program history, earning a number two seed in the NJCAA Women’s Basketball National Tournament with a 32 – 1 record. She earned WJCAC Coach of the Year honors for the second straight season and is making her second consecutive trip to the national tournament after advancing to the Elite Eight in 2019. She was one of four finalists for the 2017 and 2019 WBCA National Coach of the Year and was the WBCA Coach of the Year in 2020.
Coach Chad Gibney with the Western Nebraska Cougars has played one of the top 10 toughest schedules in the country according to the Massey Ranking. His Cougars are ranked sixth in the Massey Rankings based on strength of schedule. They beat Top 20 teams of Casper, Gillette, Otero, and Utah Valley State College.
He has made four straight National Tournament appearances from 2017 to 2020. He was the 2020 South Coach of the Year, two time District I Coach of the Year (2017 – 2019), and two-time Region IX Coach of the Year (2018 – 2019). His team is 28 – 2 this season, third in turnovers per game (11.1) and 11th in the nation for three-point shots made per game (8.8). His team is currently ranked third in the World Exposure Poll.
The fourth finalist is Bart Walker of Northwest Florida State. He has won over 20 games in four of his five seasons at the helm of the Northwest Florida State program and has an overall coaching record of 294 – 90. He earned NJCAA regional Coach of the Year honors five times and earned five Elite Eight appearances at the NJCAA National Tournament. Northwest Florida State has advanced to the Elite Eight in each of the last two seasons under Walker and his team is currently ranked 4th in the World Exposure poll. They have a 27 – 4 record, are sixth in the nation for Opponents’ Field Goal Percentage (32.5) and third in the nation for Points per game allowed (49.8).
“Each of these coaches has what it takes to win the NJCAA Division I World Exposure’s Women’s Coach of the Year honor,” said Donnie Woods, CEO of World Exposure. “We look forward to watching these coaches inspire their teams throughout the NJCAA tournament.”
And right after Frey learned that he was being included as a finalist in the Coach of Year poll, he learned that the national tournament was being postponed. “I am disappointed for the team, but I am really glad the NJCAA powers that be saw fit to postpone our tournament and not cancel it. Our young people have worked extremely hard for the past six months and to not be able to be rewarded for their hard work would be tough on them. At the same time, I appreciate our leaders looking out for the best interest of the players, coaches, spectators and officials who would be taking part in the tournament. Dr. Parker has everyone’s best interest at heart and I know this was an incredibly hard decision to make.”
The tentative start date of the NJCAA Division I women’s national tournament is Monday, April 20th. “We will try to take a preseason approach for the next few weeks and keep our young ladies interested and working hard. We will work on fundamentals and execution and then try to get back in game mode in early April. It is a good opportunity for our young people to get better.”
Frey also thanked the many individuals who had made donations to the SGTC Booster Club to help defray the expenses for the national tournament trip. “Right now it looks like we will still need donations for the national tournament trip. It is just going to be four or five weeks later than we had anticipated. I am grateful to everyone who has supported us all season long and I hope that you will continue to show that support five or six weeks from now,” said Frey.