MARION, Ind. -- Indiana Wesleyan University women's basketball head coach Steve Brooks has been named the 2012 RUSSELL ATHLETIC/WBCA NAIA National Coach of the Year, announced the Women's Basketball Coaches Association at the WBCA Awards Show in Denver, Colorado.
The national recognition from the WBCA is the second in his career. Brooks was also named the WBCA NAIA National Coach of the Year in 2007 when he led Indiana Wesleyan to a 38-0 record en route to the NAIA Division II National Championship.
"Russell Athletic believes in the ‘Power of Team' and no team can be successful without a powerful leader," said RUSSELL ATHLETIC Executive Vice President Gary Barfield. "Russell Athletic is pleased to honor the coaches named Coach of the Year and applaud their successes."
Brooks was honored as one of the five regional winners by the WBCA and that group comprised the pool for the 2012 RUSSELL ATHELTEIC/WBCA NAIA National Coach of the Year. Brooks was named the Regional Coach of the Year for Region 4 after leading Indiana Wesleyan to a 33-3 season.
"To earn the award 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 and is ranked No. 4 in the postseason rankings. 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.
The Wildcats also won the program's third straight Mid-Central College Conference regular season championship with a 17-1 record, the most conference wins by any MCC program. IWU then claimed its second straight MCC Tournament championship for the first back-to-back tournament titles in school history.
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 who were finalists for the 2012 RUSSELL ATHLETIC/WBCA NAIA National Coach of the Year were: 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.
Also named National Coach of the Year in their respective divisions were: Kim Mulkey of NCAA DI Baylor (Texas) University, Sue Ramsey of NCAA DII Ashland (Ohio) University, Mia Smith of NCAA DIII Illinois Wesleyan University, and B.J. Smith of Highland (Ill.) Community College.
"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 announcement came at the second annual WBCA Awards Show on Monday in Denver, Colorado. The event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four.