Western (WI) Technical College head women's basketball coach Brent Thill has been named the Division III Coach-of-the-Year by the National Junior College Athletic Association, as announced Wednesday, April 8.
Thill, in his first season at the helm of the Cavalier program, guided Western Tech back to the NJCAA Division III National Championships for their second straight appearance on the national stage. The 2018-19 Western Tech team under then-coach Chad Dull finished 4th overall in the first-ever trip to a NJCAA national tournament for WTC. Under Thill's tutelage, the Cavaliers not only returned to the national championships but were tasked with winning two games in one day, due to adjustments in the tournament format as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded over the weekend of March 13-14.
On Friday, March 13, Western Technical dispatched host and #2 seed Rock Valley College by a 83-74 scoreline, punching their ticket to the 2019-20 NJCAA Division III Championship game to take on MCAC-foe Northland Community & Technical College.
Tasked with playing on four hours rest and facing the 2014 NJCAA Coach-of-the-Year Shannon Nelson and her Pioneer squad, Thill's team struggled from the floor early on in the championship, scoring just eight points in the first quarter. Despite a nine point deficit at halftime, Thill's Cavaliers emerged from the lockerroom to outscore Northland 23-7 in the third period, setting the table for an unlikely comeback under the most unusual circumstances and defeated the Pioneers, 69-60.
Thill's Western Tech team finished 25-6 overall and 9-2 in the Southern Division of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference. The Cavaliers found another gear in the post-season, claiming the 2019-20 NJCAA Region XIII Championship with back-to-back wins over Minnesota West CTC and Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids on March 29-April 1, earning the return trip to the NJCAA Division III Championships.
In addition to Coach-of-the-Year honors for Thill, Western Tech sophomore Caitlin Young was tabbed as a NJCAA Division III All-America selection in women's basketball, as announced Tuesday, April 7. Use this link for the full 2019-20 NJCAA Division III Women's Basketball All-America release.
The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is the organizational body for NJCAA-affiliated two-year technical and community college athletic programs in the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, as well as select member colleges in North Dakota and Wisconsin. The mission of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference is to advance intercollegiate athletics by providing an engaging and supportive environment for success of our student athletes and competition among member institutions. The MCAC is committed to the guiding principles of encouraging the development and success of student athletes, promoting the integrity, honesty and loyalty to member schools as well as upholding the sustainability of conference athletic programs.
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