On the eve of the GCAA Division III basketball tournament, seven Georgia Northwestern players have been recognized with All-Region honors.
Sophomore Ashley Farrell is one of four Lady Bobcats honored by the region. Farrell made the GCAA Division III first team after averaging 10.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and just under one assist and one steal per game.
Freshman Katy Phillips was picked for the second team after averaging 9.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals in the regular season. Phillips was also named to the five-player All-Defensive Team.
Two other freshman, Haley Blevins (8.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.8 steals) and Sprite Dyer (4.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.8 steals) were named as honorable mention selections.
West Georgia Tech’s Jacky Jones was named as the Player of the Year, while West Georgia Tech’s Kenny Edwards was named the Coach of the Year.
Three Bobcats were honored on the men’s side.
Freshman Darrius Fugh took first team honors after scoring 19.7 points and averaging 7.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.8 assists per game. He also shot 53 percent from the field – 49 percent from behind the 3-point arc – and 83 percent from the free throw line.
Sophomore Tyler Shropshire was picked for the second team after averaging 12 points a game to go with 3.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 steals a game.
Sophomore Dominic Powell (7.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals) was named as an honorable mention pick.
Southern Crescent Tech’s Dantavius Bega was named the Player of the Year, while Roderick Stubbs of Oxford College was named the Coach of the Year.
(Walker County, Georgia) – What was once just a line item in a study looking to boost the college experience for local students has become a major selling point for Georgia Northwestern Technical College.
The year 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of athletics at the school. This past decade has seen Bobcat and Lady Bobcat intercollegiate teams compete for and win region championships, battle in national tournaments and make a name for themselves against some of the top small college programs in the country.
But for Athletic Director David Stephenson, it means so much more than that.
“Our mission statement, if there is one, is ‘education, character and athletic development’,” he explained. “Our goal, first and foremost, is to get our guys and girls an education so they can go out later and make a living, while at the same time teaching them life skills. If we can do all of that, while at the same time giving them the awesome opportunity to play college sports, we’ve met our goal.”
“WE DIDN’T EVEN HAVE A PEACH BASKET”
A 2005 study funded by Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) schools asked students for their input in how to make the technical schools feel more like community colleges, and sports was one of top things mentioned by the students.
Bobcat Athletic Hall of Famer Jeff King was serving as the college’s Vice President of Administrative Services when he was informed by then-college president Dr. Ray Brooks of a plan by other TCSG schools to try and start up their own athletic programs.
“We didn’t have any teams or equipment or uniforms or anything,” King recalled. “All we had was a thought that we might do this. Just a wing and a prayer.”
Some stories were sent out by the school’s media relations department explaining the school’s plan to introduce athletics for the first time in more than 40 years. One of those stories caught Stephenson’s eye.
“There was a lot of prayer because everyone wanted to do this right from the start,” said Don Foley, one of the school’s public relations and media personnel who helped write and send out the stories. “We put a few (stories) out there about what it is we wanted to do here and David called us before we even posted the job opening.”
After the position was posted and the interviews were conducted, Stephenson got the call and the offer to head up the fledging program.
“I still remember the day Jeff (King) called and hired me for the position,” he explained. “He told me two things. One, he had no clue as to how much they could pay me because they had never done anything like this before and two, he said he was still amazed I would even take the job considering we didn’t even have a peach basket or a basketball to throw it into.
“For me personally, it’s just amazing to see how much we have grown.”
“We had about 12 guys show up to that first basketball meeting, some didn’t even play in high school,” King said. “Fortunately, though, we had some that did. That first team was mostly local kids and we played against other technical schools. The next thing you know, we didn’t lose a game and we had a lot of people showing up to our games too.
“We’ve gone from there to becoming an (National Junior College Athletic Association) Division III program and competing for championships. It’s grown beyond any of our thoughts and I hope it continues to grow. I give David total props for all of this. Someone without his persistence and hard work would have given up a long time ago. But at least we can pay him now.”
OTHER SPORTS ARE ADDED
Men’s basketball wasn’t the only sport that started up at the college that first year. Then known as Northwestern Technical College, the “Mustangs” were adopted as the team’s official mascot and the first Lady Mustangs’ volleyball team took the floor.
That squad, then-coached by Tricia Goodwin, traveled all over the Southeast, playing against various club-level teams from a number of different schools and even picking up a couple of wins against club teams from Southeastern Conference schools.
In 2010, Northwestern Tech and Coosa Valley Tech in Rome merged to form Georgia Northwestern Technical College with the “Bobcats” becoming the new school’s nickname and mascot.
Women’s basketball was added that same year under Jim Williams and the Lady Bobcats won a region title in its very first season. In 2011-2012, the underdog Lady Bobcats would earn the college’s first-ever national tournament berth in any sport as they advanced to the tournament’s Sweet 16 before falling to nationally-ranked Montgomery-Rockville of Maryland.
But despite the successes, there was air of trouble looming under the surface.
“I DIDN’T THINK WE WERE GOING TO MAKE IT”
Financial problems in the TCSG during that time were forcing a number of schools in the state to make deep cuts. Other schools merged in order to save money and for several schools in the system, athletics was some of the fat that had to be trimmed.
“There were a couple of years, honestly, I didn’t think we were going to make it because of budget cuts, college mergers and other things,” Stephenson said.
He said a number of people deserve the credit for keeping athletics at GNTC alive, in particular King and the school’s Student Life Coordinator, Dione Waddington.
“Jeff was serving as our interim president and campus provost during those lean years and he was the driving force in fighting for us,” Stephenson said. “He kept telling people that sports here would be a great thing.
“And for the first six or seven years of our existence, we were totally relying on Dione budgeting us the money to exist. Even in these past two or three years, when we’ve ran short or needed something that wasn’t in the budget, I’ve never known her to question any budget requests I’ve made of her. She’s even sacrificed some things on her part because she felt like athletics was that important. Dione has always been very supportive of me and what we’re doing.”
But survive the program did.
Today, the school still offers men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball, but they have since added men’s golf and co-ed competition cheerleading to its list with the most recent additions having seen quite a bit of early success.
The Cheer Cats qualified for NCA Nationals in Florida on their very first attempt and ended up placing seventh in the nation in their division. The squad has already qualified again for Nationals this April.
That same month, the Bobcat golf team will be looking to defending its GCAA championship. Georgia Northwestern, in just its second season as a program and in its first year of eligibility for regional and national play, claimed the 2015 Region 17 Division III title and earned a spot at Nationals in New York.
There, the Bobcats placed third overall in their national tournament debut and they had two golfers finish in the top six individually to earn All-American honors.
“To make the advancements we’ve made in just 10 years is remarkable,” Foley added. “You look at all the students that have come through here. It’s pretty fast growth for intercollegiate athletics.”
A BOOST FOR THE SCHOOL
While athletics is just a small part of the many facets that make up Georgia Northwestern Technical College, its impact reaches far beyond the sidelines and fairways.
“When we first talked about it 10 years ago, I had no idea it would grow this much,” Waddington said. “I think it’s been great P.R. for us. It’s definitely expanded our Student Life and it makes the students feel like they are a part of something.
“When we recruit students to the school and they find out we have athletics, it brings a sparkle to their eye. It makes them look at our school differently, knowing they might still have a chance to do what they love and play here instead of having to go off somewhere else and spend thousands of dollars. I think it helps legitimize the college even more.”
“Having (athletics) is definitely an asset to the college for a variety of standpoints,” said Stuart Phillips, the school’s Vice President for Student Affairs. “One of the questions we’re asked most is ‘do you have athletics? Even the kids that don’t participate in athletics, still want to attend a college that does.
“It’s added a new dimension for us. We’ve seen it grow under great leadership from David (Stephenson) and (GNTC President) Pete McDonald and we’re looking forward to seeing it grow further in the future.”
GIVING BACK TO OTHERS
The past decade has seen the school’s athletic department give back to the community as well.
Community organizations, such as Toys for Tots and the LaFayette Care Mission, have been benefactors of the support given by the school’s teams and staff in the form of Toy and Food Drive Games. The department has also worked hard to honor veterans, police officers, firefighters and first responders during special dates throughout the seasons.
“That’s something that has been very important to me personally,” Stephenson added. “I even told the interview committee when I applied, if you’re looking for someone who is only concerned about wins and losses, you’ve got the wrong guy.
“I wanted to use the program as a platform to reach out and do things for people in the community. Every year I’ve been here, our community outreach has continued to grow.”
While the program has enjoyed fairly steady growth in the last 10 years, Stephenson is optimistic that even more could be on the horizon.
“I would like to see us add at least one more men’s and one more women’s sport, even if it’s the same sport, within the next two years for sure,” he said. “I would to see us have our own gym facility, preferably on the new Catoosa County campus. I’d like to get to the point where we are totally self-sufficient and I would like to see our female athlete population rise. It’s starting to grow more than it has in recent years, but I want to see it take off to the point where there are as many females trying out for sports as there are males.”
BEHIND THE SCENES
While Stephenson deserves a lot of credit for getting the program where it is today, he is quick to name others who have also played big roles in getting the program off the ground and keeping it there.
Past and current school administrators like McDonald, Brooks, King and Phillips, staff members such as Waddington, Foley and Amber Jordan (public relations) and Stephenson’s current group of coaches, assistant coaches, staff members and volunteers have all been instrumental in the continued growth of the program.
Then there are others, such as Stump Martin and later Carthell Rogers, with the Rossville Athletic Center, numerous businesses and corporate sponsors and others who give of their time and work behind the scenes to keep the program on a first-class level.
“That very first meeting I had with our (prospective) student-athletes, I told them we were going to try to make this athletic program the same as any other intercollegiate (athletic) program of our size in the country and I think we’ve done that,” Stephenson explained. “It’s been my baby for 10 years and it’s been neat to see it grow from infant and toddler stages to running the way I knew it could.
“To be at this point with the awesome staff I have, it’s all a God thing. Plus, we’ve had some tremendous student-athletes and some tremendous support from our administration. When we started all of this, some technical colleges (that also began athletics) didn’t make it. Some of their programs folded after a year or two, but we’re still around.
“I can look at the photos on my office wall and see some of the outstanding student-athletes we’ve worked with over the years. I know we have impacted their lives, not just from an athletic standpoint, but from an academic sense and a character sense and that is probably what I’m most proud of.”
Congrats to our own Ashley Farrell from Calhoun, Georgia. She was named the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Women’s Basketball Player of the Week for last week.
Ashley Farrell, a sophomore guard from Calhoun (Gordon Central HS), has been named the GCAA Division III Player of the Week for Dec. 2.
Farrell had 13 points, six rebounds, a block and a steal in a 61-46 home loss to the Bryan College junior varsity team on Nov. 23.
(Northwest Georgia) – One of the most anticipated local cheerleading events of the year will take place on Monday, Sept. 28 as Georgia Northwestern hosts its third annual Bobcat Cheer Extravaganza.
This year’s event will take place at LaFayette High School with performances and festivities beginning at 6 p.m.
Bobcats cheer coach Karen Stoker said another huge turnout is expected.
“Last year we ended up with about 425 athletes performing, which was more than double what we had the first year and we are expecting at least that many or more this year,” she said. “We know we have at least 14 schools that are going to represented, but we will probably have some more that sign up just before the deadline.”
Recreation cheer squads will compete for awards, as will middle school and high school spirit squads. Middle school, high school and all-star competition squads will perform exhibitions only.
The night will begin with a performance by the Georgia Northwestern Bobcat Cheer Cats. The Cheer Cats finished seventh in their division at the 2015 National Cheerleading Association (NCA) Nationals in Daytona Beach, Florida in their first season as a competition squad. They have already qualified for the 2016 NCA Nationals following their performance at a camp at the University of Louisville.
Stoker said the performance was another good way for her squad to give back to the local cheerleading community.
“We just finished helping with the North Georgia Athletic Conference (middle school) with their competition cheerleading playday,” she explained. “They asked us to do it and the kids really enjoyed it.”
Admission will be $5 for adults. Concessions and cheerleading-specific vendors will also be on hand with items to purchase.
Stoker added that the main purpose of the night would be to allow cheer squads of all levels to showcase their talents.
“The mats will be theirs to show what they can do,” she said. “I’m looking forward to what I think will be another great night.”
(Walker County, Georgia) – The country’s top programs have all eyes on Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) first-ever NJCAA All-American Matt Woods this spring. Although Woods has two years of eligibility left on the collegiate hardwood, they are not basketball programs offering him a full ride.
They are medical schools.
After four years of college at GNTC (2010-12) and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (2012-14), Woods has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Integrated Studies. Medical schools across the country have sent acceptance letters to the 27-year-old UTC college graduate. With scholarships being offered from a number of institutions, Woods has had a tough decision. Those accepting Woods ranged from the University of Hawaii to Georgetown University.
However, topping them all was Mayo Medical School. It’s at the renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “They offered me a full scholarship that’s worth almost $200,000,” said the excited Woods. “I am also waiting to hear back from Johns Hopkins (University). To even be considered by both colleges is such an honor. I’m truly humbled by it all.” Once Woods makes his decision official, he plans to relocate to his chosen campus later this summer.
Woods earned his place on multiple Dean’s and President’s List at his two colleges during his four years of study. After two years as a member of the Bobcats Men’s Basketball program at GNTC, and three years as an assistant coach for the program, Woods is looking forward to taking advantage of this opportunity of a lifetime.
“When I was a kid, I actually wanted to be a marine biologist,” said Woods. “But after my time overseas, and things my family’s been through, I’m excited about one day working in the medical field.” You see, Woods comes from a military family. His family would move 15 times in the first 22 years of Woods’ life. His father is U.S. Army Brigadier General Robert Woods (Retired). With 30 years of service, the one-star General is married to his former U.S. Army Captain wife, Nadine Woods.
A member of the U.S. National Guard himself, Sergeant Woods returned home from a military deployment to the Middle East in 2010. It was a tour of duty in Iraq that saw him earn a Combat Action Badge for heroism during a grenade attack on his patrol. “We could have gotten the guy shortly before the attack, but there was a school behind him so we had to chase him down,” said Woods. “There were three of us from that patrol that ran into a nearby hut and got him.” Woods left the guard after six years of service from 2006-2012.
However, it is the 2010 battle story of Woods’ only brother, Captain Bobby Woods (Retired), which had a big impact on his decision to go into medicine. During a deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan, the now 29-year-old brother would quickly find himself in the middle of fire fights. “There were a lot of casualties over there,” said the younger brother. With temperatures rising above the 100-degree mark on August 8, 2010, First Lieutenant Bobby Woods would be on patrol and fall under attack when a bullet found its mark, somehow missing his helmet and shattering the front of his skull.
At the same time, back in the states, Woods was in college at Georgia Northwestern, as well as serving in the National Guard. “I was on a training exercise in South Georgia when I got the news about Bobby being shot,” recalled Woods. “It’s a call I never want to get again. My mom got a call reporting that he’d been shot in the head, but that he was alive.”
After multiple procedures and month upon months of recovery at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, Bobby Woods is is looking towards the future. The retired military captain graduated from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia in Athens earlier this month. Five years after the shooting, he still does physical therapy twice week.
Matt Woods is a 2005 graduate of Dade County High School in Trenton, Georgia. His family still resides in Dade County, Georgia.
By the way, although Woods has two years of NCAA eligibility remaining, the Mayo Medical School in Minnesota does not have a collegiate basketball program. Johns Hopkins University in Maryland does participate in men’s collegiate basketball. Just in case it makes the decision any easier, Sergeant Woods, there’s something to consider.
Since 1962, Georgia Northwestern Technical College has been instrumental in providing quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. The mission of Georgia Northwestern Technical College is to provide accessible, high quality technical education and workforce development opportunities. Serving the nine counties of Catoosa; Chattooga; Dade; Floyd; Gordon; Murray; Polk; Walker; and Whitfield, GNTC has five convenient campus locations in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. With programs of study in business, health, industrial, and public service available, students have the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree, diploma, or a certificate from GNTC. This past year, 14,562 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 8,249 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fifth largest technical college in the state of Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,313 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.
Daughtry Putting Degree To Use At Georgia School For The Deaf
(Cave Spring, Georgia) – Four years after putting the Georgia School for the Deaf (GSD) on the basketball map, Brittney Daughtry has put herself back on the GSD campus. Her new goal is to give back in a way she knows how. She’s putting her collegiate training from Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) to work at the school which launched her career.
Daughtry, now 26-years-old, was the Mason-Dixie Tournament Most Valuable Player during her senior year of high school basketball at the Cave Spring institution. The annual roundball event pits the Schools for the Deaf from across the Southeast against one another. It would just be a short time later that Daughtry would become her high school’s first female to ever become a collegiate athletic signee.
“I love to work with kids,” said Daughtry in her GNTC signing day interview in August 2011. “I want to help them and watch them learn like all my teachers and coaches have done for me. It always makes me feel so proud.” To celebrate, the entire student body attended the event that day and waved pom-poms which shook so violently that the obvious silence was almost deafening.
Today, Daughtry is making her wish come true. She currently serves as a resident advisor at the GSD. “I work with the elementary school girls on campus,” said Daughtry. “I help teach more sign language, basic student life things, and whatever it takes to help them make it at GSD.”
The former Georgia Northwestern Lady Bobcat is currently considering colleges to pursue her next degree in Early Childhood Education. “I earned an associate degree in Early Childhood Care and Education from Georgia Northwestern,” said Daughtry. “Just thinking about my next step. I am really happy about the opportunity to bring whatever education I obtain back to the school that has done so much for me.”
This K-12 school in Cave Spring, Georgia has been in business for nearly 170 years. This is the first time a female student has signed to play a collegiate sport on any level. More than 30 years ago, the school saw its first-ever male student-athlete sign to play college basketball when GSD alum Willie Brown headed to Hofstra University.
Originally from Sylvania, Georgia, Daughtry will tell you how she didn’t have much interaction with other children early in life. “I started to lose my hearing when I was two,” said Daughtry. “A really bad fever started my hearing loss. When it was time to begin Kindergarten, we made the decision to attend GSD. I learned everything from sign language to the game I love. Both GSD and Georgia Northwestern have taught me so much.”
It’s a decision that shaped her education, career, and future, both on the court and in the classroom.
The Lady Cats Basketball program is based in Rossville, Georgia. Georgia Northwestern Intercollegiate Athletics competes within the NJCAA Division III and the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA). Application deadline for Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s summer semester is April 20. The last day to register for summer classes is May 4.
November was selected in America as the month to hold major elections because harvest seasons were complete by then.
The first Tuesday of November was selected as Election Day because initially many people had to travel the day before to reach the polling place in time. Since most people did not travel on Sunday for religious reasons, they did not want elections to be on a Monday.
Bobcat Fact of the Day: Application and Testing Deadline for spring semester is November 25. (gntc.edu)