Coach Gary Bailey of Cedar Springs named coach of the year
Grace Bible College won its third consecutive NCCAA II national championship and the fourth in six years in Springfield, Missouri Saturday night with a 76-56 drubbing of Valley Forge Christian College. The championship game was a rematch of the 2009 title game which Grace won by 2 points.
Grace’s head coach, Gary Bailey, and assistant coach, Dan George, are Cedar Springs residents. George was Bailey’s college coach 32 years ago and the two have been teamed up at Grace for the last six years. “It has been an amazing run, especially these last three years,” said Dan George. “It kind of started two years ago when we beat Ferris State University on their floor. People started paying attention to tiny Grace.”
Gary Bailey was named Midwest Region Coach of the Year for the fourth consecutive year and he was named National Coach of the Year for the second time, previously winning the honor in 2009.
Team accomplishments this year included:
• Victories over Calvin College and Hope College in their tournaments with Grace winning both tournaments
• Leading NAIA Champion Cornerstone University by 16 at halftime before falling to the Golden Eagles on a buzzer beating three-pointer.
• Setting a new school record for victories in a season (breaking the 30-8 record they set in 2009) with a record of 31-7.
• Expanding their record setting NCCAA II winning streak to 58 in a row. The Tigers have not lost an NCCAA II game in three years and they have been ranked #1 in the country since January of 2009.
This year’s tournament run began at the Midwest Regionals in Chicago where Grace dominated Emmaus, Northland International University, and Lincoln Christian University and moved on to the National Tournament in Springfield, Missouri last week as the #1 seed. The Tigers handled #8 Kentucky Christian University on Thursday, 74-53, but survived a scare from #4 Dallas Christian on Friday night. Grace trailed by 13 at halftime before fighting back and winning in overtime, 69-67. The Tigers built a 13 point lead at the half of the championship game against Valley Forge and expanded it to as much as 27 points in the second half before Bailey emptied his bench to give all his players an opportunity to contribute.
Allen Durham (Wyoming Park) was named Tournament MVP and winner of the Maravich Award as NCCAA II Player of the Year. Durham and Cory Jamieson (Wayland) were named All-Americans.