Northwestern Technical College. And it’s in season five atop the Bobcats staff where GNTC Head Men’s Basketball Coach David Stephenson may clinch his 500th career win in 2011-12. Next season will mark his 25th season of coaching basketball.

            Standing at 474 wins, the 44-year-old top cat at Georgia Northwestern will need to record 26 wins next season to hit the 500 win mark. “It’s a great number to think about,” said Stephenson. “However, I’m more impressed with the fact that this will be the five-year anniversary of the birth of our programs. We have come a long way and have worked hard for it. From the explosion of our intramural programs to the level of competition our varsity programs are now experiencing, Georgia Northwestern has become a true college life experience for the student-athlete on all levels.”

            Stephenson coached his first games in the fall of 1987 at Tennessee Temple in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “I coached elementary and JV squads at the school that year,” recalls Stephenson. “Now, a player who played for me in my second year when I coached varsity high school ball at Tennessee Temple in 1988-89 is now my assistant coach at Georgia Northwestern.” These days, Mark Wiedenbenner serves as Stephenson’s assistant coach for the Bobcats.

            Educating nearly 10,000 students across its four campuses and online over this past year, Georgia Northwestern currently offers men’s and women’s collegiate varsity basketball and women’s collegiate varsity volleyball. The Bobcats and Lady Cats will compete for a chance at regional and national titles this year in NJCAA’s Region XVII.

“This is a huge step,” said Stephenson, who also serves as the college athletic coordinator. “However, it means nothing if we don’t succeed at our first goal at GNTC which is to put people on the path to pursue careers. We only accept ‘student’ athletes into our programs. We realize these students will be working alongside us in the years to come. We want our people, our businesses, and our towns to grow stronger as a result.” All but two of Stephenson’s Bobcats from this past season were named to the All-Academic Team for the Technical College System of Georgia Athletic Association.

 

            Friday, June 10 at 11 a.m., the Lady Cats Basketball program will be holding an informational session for anyone who is interested in trying out for the 2011-2012 season. It will take place in the Administration Building on the Walker County Campus. The Lady Cats captured their state conference title in their pilot season of competition this past year.

            “We were blessed with a decent cast of Lady Cats on the floor by seasons’ end last year,” said Lady Cats Women’s Head Basketball Coach Jim Williams. “As we hit season two, we want to do it right. We hope it opens doors for anyone who may be interested. The information session on the (June) 10th is for anyone who has any questions whatsoever and may want to get to know the coaching staff.”

            Official tryouts for men’s and women’s varsity basketball at Georgia Northwestern will take place after the fall semester begins this August. Practices will begin October 1. Lady Cats Volleyball will soon announce its first dates for tryouts and scheduling in the coming weeks. All Cats Country athletic information is available on the GNTC.edu website.

              For more information on Bobcats and Lady Cats Basketball and Lady Bobcats Volleyball programs at Georgia Northwestern, contact the Office of Sports Information at 706-764-3813. You may also e-mail Don Foley in the Office of Sports Information at dfoley@gntc.edu. For more information on Georgia Northwestern Technical College, visit their website at GNTC.edu.