MARION, Ind. -- Accolades continue to pour in for the Indiana Wesleyan University women's basketball team as head coach Steve Brooks was named a 2012 RUSSELL ATHLETIC/WBCA NAIA Regional Coach of the Year, announced the Women's Basketball Coaches Association office.
Brooks was honored as one of the five regional winners by the WBCA and joins that group as a finalist for the 2012 RUSSELL ATHELTEIC/WBCA NAIA National Coach of the Year. Brooks was named the Coach of the Year for Region 4 after leading Indiana Wesleyan to a 33-3 season.
"To be named Region 4 Coach of the Year is a real testimony to our players," said Brooks. "This kind of award is for all the people in the program, I don't think it's a single person award. I'm blessed to have quality young ladies who are willing to put the team first and assistant coaches who do a really nice job in helping us have the kind of program we have."
Indiana Wesleyan was ranked No. 1 in NAIA Division II for all 11 regular season polls during the 2011-12 season. IWU made its 10th consecutive trip to the NAIA National Championship where they advanced to the national quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Northwestern (Iowa) College.
According to the WBCA release, Brooks was selected for his team's success on the court and for his role off the court dealing with the death of teammate Leah Whittaker and ACL injuries to two players.
"Brooks, a veteran head coach at Indiana Wesleyan, led the Wildcats to a third straight Mid-Central College Conference championship and No. 1-ranking in NAIA Division II," read the WBCA release. "Brooks served as the team's rock, as it has overcome unfortunate circumstances during the 2011-12 season to enter the NAIA Division II National Tournament as the No. 1-seed. In his 13th season as head coach, Brooks' team is 33-3."
The four other coaches named Regional Coach of the Year and finalist for the 2012 RUSSELL ATHLETIC/WBCA NAIA National Coach of the Year are: Brian Orr of Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) College, Drew Olson of Concordia (Neb.) University, Dale Neal of Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) University, and Marty Rowe of Lee (Tenn.) University.
"For being in consideration of the National Coach of the Year, I would be lying if I didn't say it's a little overwhelming," added Brooks. "It's very humbling to know that your peers place you in a category where you can be considered for that type of an award. I'm humbled by it and I'm really thankful for the kids in this program and what they've done and what they've continued to do for our team."
The National Coach of the Year honor will be announced during the second annual WBCA Awards Show on Monday, April 2, in Denver, Colorado. The event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four.