Chipola Celebrates Day of Champions
By DUSTIN KENT / Floridan Sports
coaches, athletes, administration, faculty and staff all gathered at
Chipola Field Thursday to honor the school’s historic four consecutive
Fans sat in the stadium bleachers as Chipola College President Gene
Prough, Chipola athletic director Dale O’Daniel and all four Chipola
coaches addressed the crowd.
“The Lord has smiled on Chipola College,” O’Daniel
The school celebrated men’s and women’s basketball state championships
in March in Marianna, while the softball and baseball teams celebrated
state titles this week in Polk County.
It’s the first time in Florida junior college history that a school
pulled off the “four-peat” in the same sports calender year.
The coaches credited the school’s administration for giving them the
support needed to bring home championships.
“A lot of the success goes to Dr. Prough,” Chipola girls basketball
coach David Lane said. “His always being there and being so supportive
says a lot.”
The coaches also uniformly pointed to the unity and comraderie within
the athletic department as being a key factor in the success of the
“We owe a lot to our supporters and to our close-knit family with all of
the coaches,” Chipola softball coach Belinda Hendrix said.
Lane added, “The coaches get along well, the kids get along well and
those relationships breed success. It makes things a lot easier.”
And of course, the coaches thanked those most responsible for the
championships, the athletes themselves.
“We had student-athletes who believed in us and believed in themselves,”
Chipola basketball coach Greg Heiar said. “It takes a lot of work to put
a puzzle together to have championship success and we had a tremendous
Added Hendrix, “The players are the reason we’ve been so successful.
They’re the ones getting up at 5:30 a.m. and working hard. My job is
easy when you have so many great kids who play so well.”
Added Johnson, “We are very excited about our accomplishments. We really
came on from the start of the season to the end. I’m very proud of our
Next up for the baseball and softball teams are the national
tournaments, May 17 in Plant City for the women and May 26 in Grand
Junction, Colo., for the men.
The women’s basketball team finished fifth in the national tournament,
while the men were the national runners-up.