May 20, 2009
Marietta, Ga. - Shorter College has experienced a wealth of athletic accomplishment over the past year, due in large part to high character leaders that excel on the playing surfaces and on the sidelines.
Two of those individuals were recognized Wednesday afternoon at the annual Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) meetings held on the campus of Southern Polytechnic State University.
Head men's and women's soccer coach Josh Severns earned SSAC Men's Sports Coach of the Year honors and senior softball standout Becca Thomas garnered the league's most prestigious award, 2009 SSAC Female Honor Student Athlete of the Year.
Severns guided the Hawks' soccer team to the SSAC regular season title and a 7-1-1 mark in conference play despite being picked to finish in the bottom half of the league according to the preseason polls.
He was named the 2009 SSAC Men's Soccer Coach of the Year for his efforts.
"I think this award reflects the turnaround of our program and what the players have accomplished in such a short period of time," said Severns. "I can only attribute this award to my players and their outstanding accomplishments."
"We are very proud of Josh, his staff and certainly his players," said Shorter athletic director Bill Peterson. "For that group to accomplish what they have in just four years is a real tribute to Coach Severns' coaching skills and leadership ability."
Thomas, a first-team All-SSAC choice as a pitcher and infielder, scored the conference's Female Honor Student Athlete award with her impressive resume both on and off the diamond.
Thomas boasted a 4.0 grade-point-average as an Early Childhood Education major.
She was the SSAC nominee for the highly coveted Dr. Leroy Walker Champions of Character Award, which honors a student-athlete who excels in athletics and academics and is committed to the NAIA Champions of Character program's five core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship.
On the field, Thomas posted an 18-7 record and 1.63 earned-run-average on the mound while batting .264 with three home runs and 14 RBI.
She helped lead the Lady Hawks to a 44-16 record and a third straight appearance in the NAIA National Tournament.
"Becca has had a storybook career at Shorter," Peterson said. "She is a tremendous athlete, outstanding student and proven leader. She has helped take our softball program to the top of NAIA.
"Her legacy will be an important part of Shorter College for years to come."
The SSAC Male and Female Honor Student Athlete Awards recognize the one male and one female athlete that epitomizes excellence in athletics, academics, service and character.