Northeast softball honored for off-the-field success

Northeast Mississippi Community College softball program is finding that success comes in many different forms.
After returning to the 2010-11 Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC)State Tournament in Perkinston and giving host Mississippi Gulf Coast a run in the first round of the tournament, Northeast was rewarded for its work in the classroom when the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) released its 2010-11 Academic Awards on Wednesday, June 29.
Northeast was one of eight Magnolia State schools to be an NJCAA All-Academic Team insoftball when the national organization handed out its annual awards.
“The great thing about our sport is that we are dealing with not just your typical athlete but with kids that are determined about their majors and they come in with a purpose,” said Northeast head softball coach Jody Long. “Our philosophy is ‘Classroom comes first,’ and the classroom is the most important thing.”
For Long, the award is a culmination of the time and effort that the Lady Tigers put together on and off the field.
“Our main focus from day one is the players have to understand that they are here to get an education first,” Long said. “We spend a lot of time making sure they are going to class and doing what they are supposed to do but our job is made easy by the type of athlete that we recruit.”
Northeast’s softball team finished the 2010-11 season with a 3.20 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale and was listed along with North Division foes East Mississippi and Holmes along with South Division teams East Central, Southwest, Copiah-Lincoln, Jones County and Mississippi Gulf Coast on the national list.
Northeast’s 3.20 GPA helped the Lady Tigers finish in a four-way tie with three other colleges – Central Community College in Columbus, Neb., John A. Logan College in Cartersville, Ill. and Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas.
Northeast finished a 25-23 record on the softball diamond and the program sits just one win shy of the 300-win plateau since switching over to fast-pitch competition in 2011.
With its 25 wins during the 2010-11 season, Northeast recorded its most wins since the 2008 Lady Tiger softball team pieced together a 34-20 mark en route to a North Division championship.
For ateam to be nominated as an All-Academic Team, a team must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or better after all the hours of student-athletes who finish the season with the team are computed. Qualifying hours for All-Academic Team selection must include all transfer hours that are earned at previous college but do not include remedial or developmental course work.
Northeast finished the 2010-11 season with 19 players and two managers on the final roster and Long looks for the Lady Tigers to return to the days where Northeast was an NJCAA Top Ten All-Academic Team in 2002-04 and 2007-08.
“Our 12-13 freshmen were in the top 75-percentile of our GPA,” Long said. “I look for even greater things out of this group next year.”