June 30, 2014
By -, -
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chris Steiner-Wilcoxson of Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) has been honored as the 2014 NAIA Softball National Coach of the Year, the national office announced Monday. Since the inception of the Warhawks program in 2009, Steiner-Wilcoxson holds a 235-97-2 overall record, including the program’s first-ever NAIA National Championship this year.
The national title was earned after a 10-6 defeat of fellow conference member William Carey (Miss.) on May 30 in Columbus, Ga. Steiner-Wilcoxson led the Warhawks to a 44-7 mark this year and 89 combined wins the past two seasons. Auburn Montgomery has competed in the NAIA Softball World Series in each of the last three years under her guidance.
“This is a great accomplishment for not only me, but for our players and the entire coaching staff as well,” Steiner-Wilcoxson said. “This award certainly would not have been possible without the dedication of our student-athletes, as well as the support of our administration, both at the University level and within athletics. I think this is one of the highest honors that a coach can receive. It is very humbling that other coaches across the nation felt our program was deserving.
“This is much more than an individual award. I certainly could not have achieved it by myself, but am very proud and appreciative to receive it.”
During the regular season, Steiner-Wilcoxson led Auburn Montgomery to the Southern States Athletic Conference East Division championship and a 25-1 record. The SSAC Coach of the Year engineered the longest win streak in the program's history with 24-consecutive victories from March 10 to April 25. Earlier this season, she earned her 200th victory as a Warhawk. In early June, she was named the SSAC Female Coach of the Year (from among conference institutions and women’s sports).
She has also helped the Warhawks to 22-consecutive appearances in the top 10 of the NAIA Coaches' Top 25 Poll, including the No. 1 ranking in the 2014 postseason poll.
Steiner-Wilcoxson mentored three players on the 2014 NAIA All-America Team: First Teamer Cassie Daniels, Second Teamer Lauren Shaw and Honorable Mention selection Taylor Powell. She also oversaw a strong pitching staff. In national team statistical rankings, the Warhawks ranked fifth in opponent batting average (.176) and seventh in team ERA (1.48).
This honor is the first for Auburn Montgomery since the award began in 1981.
Prior to AUM, Steiner-Wilcoxson had a three-year stint at Reinhardt in Waleska, Ga., where she launched the Eagles' softball program in 2005. At Reinhardt, she compiled an 84-80 overall record, including a 55-31 record in conference games.