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Thursday May 7th, 2015 1:46AM

North Georgia women's basketball coach up for Coach of the Year

By staff reports
The Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced today the eight 2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division II Regional Coaches of the Year, all of whom are finalists for the inaugural Pat Summitt Trophy to be presented to the 2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year. UNG's Buffie Burson has been tabbed the Region 3 Coach of the Year is now a finalist for the association's top coaching honor.

The 2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year will be named during the fourth annual WBCA Awards Show on Monday, April 7, in the Omni Nashville Hotel's Broadway Ballroom. This event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women's Final Four®.

Burson was named the 2013-2014 Peach Belt Conference co-Coach of the Year. Her 23rd-ranked Nighthawks have been in the NCAA Division II/USA Today top-25 for eight consecutive weeks marking the first-ever NCAA national ranking for the program. Burson's squad finished the season 23-7 after earning a spot in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional in Hickory, N.C.

This is the first year the physical award presented to the six Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coaches of the Year has borne Summitt's name. It will be the only national coach of the year award to do so. The legendary University of Tennessee head coach, who stepped down in April 2012, is the winningest basketball coach (men's or women's) in NCAA Division I history with 1,098 career victories. Summitt led the Lady Vols to eight NCAA Division I national championships and was named the Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year three times in her career.

"The WBCA congratulates these coaches on being named finalists for the Pat Summitt Trophy presented to the 2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA Division II National Coach of the Year," said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. "Each coach helped lead their team to outstanding seasons and was selected by their peers to be candidates for this honor. On behalf of the WBCA and its members, I wish all of these finalists the best of luck at the WBCA Awards show in Nashville."

"We would like to congratulate these coaches for being named finalists for the 2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division II Coach of the Year Award," said Senior Vice President General Manager of Russell Athletic, Robby Davis. "Each of these coaches embodies the team concept we embrace at our Company, and we are pleased to honor them for a fantastic season."

Russell Athletic and the WBCA present the national coach of the year award annually in each of the six WBCA membership divisions (NCAA Divisions I, II and III; NAIA; junior/community college and high school). This is the 31st year since 1983 that the WBCA has presented this honor to an NCAA Division II head coach.
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