After leading Wingate to the national championship in June, head coach Jeff Gregory ’00 was named the NCAA Division II national coach of the year by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Gregory’s team entered the Division II College World Series as the No. 6 seed and lost its first game of the double-elimination tournament. The Bulldogs then won five consecutive elimination games to take the title. They finished the season 39-13.
“He did a masterful job managing his team throughout the regular season and the NCAA playoffs,” says Steve Poston, vice president and director of athletics. “His team played with poise and confidence throughout the tournament, which was a direct result of his leadership.”
Senior Logan McNeely, who was named most outstanding player of the CWS, says that Gregory’s methodical approach to managing helped the squad focus during the big moments.
“He works us, obviously, but he believes in every one of us,” McNeely says. “Some days, just human nature, we’re not as locked in as we should be at practice. He keeps us motivated and in a straight line.”
McNeely says that Gregory and his coaching staff did an especially good job during the 25-day layoff between the South Atlantic Conference tournament and the Southeast Regionals.
“It’s hard to wait a month and be ready to go play in the regional tournament,” McNeely says. “He and coach (Dusty) White and coach (Jacob) Rand, they mapped out a plan for us for the whole month – how we should practice, intrasquads, whatever we needed to do to get ready – and we didn’t break a stride. We played how we played in the SAC tournament.”
Gregory is the fifth Wingate University head coach to earn recognition as national coach of the year. He joins Kirk Sanocki, a two-time winner (2012, men’s swimming; 2016, women’s swimming); Gary Hamill (men’s soccer, 2016); Shelton Collier (volleyball, 2013); and Michael Cabana (women’s tennis, 2019). Hamill was honored after leading Wingate to its first-ever team NCAA Division II title.
In 11 seasons at the helm, Gregory is 331-221, including three SAC tournament crowns and a SAC regular-season title.