By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Woody Hunt of Cumberland (Tenn.) has been named the 2014 NAIA-Baseball Coaches Association (NAIA-BCA) National Coach of the Year, the NAIA announced Wednesday. Hunt – one of the longest-tenured active NAIA baseball coaches after finishing his 33rd season in 2014 – led the Bulldog baseball program to a third Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series championship this past season.
“It is a great honor when your peers recognize your accomplishments, but as I’ve said many times, this is really a team award," said Hunt. "Our club went through a tough stretch in March but then continually got better each week in April and May and we got tremendous contributions from so many players along the way that allowed us to win another national championship.”
The 2014 Bulldogs, who were the only non-No. 1 seed to advance out of the National Championship Opening Round and the first No. 10 seed to win the World Series, featured a dominant offense that led the NAIA in at-bats (2,258) while ranking among the top 10 nationally in hits (711), runs scored (495), RBIs (442) and doubles (125). Senior second baseman Sam Lind, who was named the 2014 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series Most Valuable Player and a first-team All-American, individually led the NAIA in at-bats (270), hits (109), total bases (180) and RBIs (91).
Cumberland ended 2014 with a 49-20 record en route to titles at the World Series, the Opening Round Kingsport Bracket and the Mid-South Conference Tournament. The league title is Hunt’s sixth in the Mid-South Conference and 12th conference tournament crown in the last 18 seasons.
Under Hunt, Cumberland owns 24 seasons with 40 or more victories, including 20 of the last 22 years. The Bulldogs have registered eight 50-plus wins seasons, including a program record 59 wins in 2004. He currently ranks atop the NAIA’s winningest active coaches list with a 1,452-604-4 record, more than 180 victories ahead of the next closest individual. Cumberland has produced 64 NAIA All-Americans with 79 of Hunt’s former players have signed professional contracts.
Individually, Hunt has previously been named the national coach of the year twice with the most recent coming in 2010.
The NAIA-BCA National Coach of the Year is voted on by the NAIA-BCA Executive Committee and NAIA-BCA Past Presidents. To be eligible, a head coach must be selected as their conference or unaffiliated group coach of the year or lead their team to the Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.