There is a concept at Georgia Gwinnett known as “GGC time,” which refers to the rapid manner in which the college conducts business and achieves planned milestones.
Grizzly Athletics has taken “GGC time” to a new level, bringing home conference/unaffiliated titles and national championships in only its first year of postseason eligibility.
First, the men’s soccer team won the college’s first postseason championship last fall, and logged its first appearance in a national postseason tournament. The year’s signature win came as GGC hosted its first-ever postseason tournament, the 2013 Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) championship, where the Grizzlies dispatched national #3 Ashford (Iowa) by 3-0 to claim the title.
The team topped out at #9 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) coaches’ top 25 poll and finished at #18. The program is a stellar 30-7-1 over its first two seasons, with Steve DeCou earning his 150th career victory as a head coach. The women’s soccer team also achieved a top 25 ranking with a highly successful 14-4-1 campaign.
Then came spring semester and the Grizzly trifecta.
Earning the college’s first #1 national coaches’ ranking in any sport, the women’s tennis team ended the regular season with a 13-3 record, defeating every NAIA team it played. The squad took second place in its conference/unaffiliated tournament, earning a second-seed at the NAIA national championships. Coach Chase Hodges remarked that while the team had lost the battle, “Hopefully, we can win the war.”
Taking their fight to NAIA’s national tournament in Mobile, Ala., the Grizzlies did win the war, and the national title – GGC’s historic first in intercollegiate athletics.
Only a few hours later on the same courts, the men’s team repeated the feat, winning the national championship. The team ended the season with an unbeaten 21-0 record and the conference/unaffiliated title, as well. GGC is only the second college in history to win both the men’s and women’s tennis NAIA titles in the same year.
Meanwhile on the baseball diamond, the Grizzlies won their first postseason title after a rocky start at the A.I.I. tournament outside Boston. That championship earned the team a top seed in the five-team Lawrenceville Bracket of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. Again facing elimination after an early loss, the team strung together four straight must-win games to capture the Lawrenceville Bracket and punch their ticket to the program’s first-ever Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. As the tournament’s #6 seed, GGC fought hard but was eliminated among the nation’s final eight teams. Three players became GGC’s first to be drafted by Major League Baseball franchises.
The softball team, while seeing its 39-10-1 season come to a close in the A.I.I. tournament, took the national #1 team to extra innings at one of the nation’s most competitive postseason tournaments. The team received votes in the coaches’ top 25 poll, making GGC 6-for-6 across all sports in its first season of poll eligibility.
The softball team also won the 2014 Buffalo Funds NAIA Champions of Character Softball Team award, out of 200 eligible programs. The Grizzlies earned this prestigious award for dedication to integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
This totals three conference and two national titles – all in the Grizzlies’ second year as a program and first year of postseason eligibility. The program finished with a 160-36-2 overall record across six sports, a winning percentage of .808.
“It’s truly been a remarkable year for Grizzly Athletics. We’ve been fortunate to build a program around outstanding coaches and terrific student-athletes, but to experience so much early success has been a thrill. We look forward to competing on the national level for years to come, as the word is already spreading about the GGC Grizzlies.”
– Dr. Darin S. Wilson, director of Athletics
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