Basketball coach Chris Moore and his team were among those honored at the annual awards gathering.
Thomas Nelson’s annual sports awards held April 22 honored the past and present while also looking to the future.
The basketball team, led by coach Chris Moore, celebrated a 16-1 season that was capped by a title in the New South Athletic Conference championship game. It was the Gators’ first conference title since 2015.
Coach Todd Barker and the baseball team headed into a big weekend series with a 17-20 record, the most wins by the Gators in a number of years. They have about 10 games left in the regular season.
Irene Barcus, in her first year as the head cheer/dance coach, and her squad also were recognized for the unwavering support of both teams all year.
Dr. Porter Brannon, president of the College, announced Thomas Nelson will be expanding its athletic programs. Through a $500,000 donation from the Thomas Nelson Educational Foundation, six teams will be added in the next three years, at the rate of two teams a year.
“Over the next three years, we plan to stand up three or four new athletics programs,” she said.
For the 2022-23 academic year, the Gators will be adding softball and women’s volleyball and will be resuming its women’s basketball program. The College did not field a team in 2021-22, although it usually does.
The College also is searching for an athletics director, who will help decide the four other teams to be added, but the possibilities are cross country, track and field, and soccer.
“We hope to identify an athletics director for the college over the summer,” Brannon said.
Since the College receives funds for each student enrolled, the athletics department should be self-sustaining beginning with the 2025-26 academic year.
If those teams are as successful as the others at the College, there will be a lot to celebrate each year.