by Benny Benton
HIGH POINT, N.C. – Three Barton College head coaches will be honored by Conference Carolinas on Monday as part of the league’s inaugural Legends of the Game Banquet, which will be held at 7 p.m. on the campus of Southern Wesleyan University.
The ceremony will recognize coaches who have accomplished specific milestones during their careers. The honorees will receive the “Milestone Award” or “Legend of the Game Award” to commemorate their achievements.
Barton men’s basketball head coach Ron Lievense, softball head coach Sheryl Neff and women’s basketball head coach Wendee Saintsing are among nine coaches throughout the league whose careers will be commended at the event.
All three Barton coaches will be presented with a Milestone Award, which is given to a coach who has surpassed at least 200 career wins in soccer or lacrosse, 250 wins in basketball or volleyball, 500 wins in baseball or softball, or 15 years of coaching in the sports of golf, cross country or track and field.
Lievense has amassed nearly 450 career victories over 28 seasons as a collegiate head coach in stints at Averett University, St. Andrews University and Barton. The bulk of those wins, 378, have been earned during 20 years with the Bulldogs, including one in the 2007 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship Game.
Neff has collected more than 525 career wins in 30 seasons at University of Findlay and Barton. She just completed her 21st season with the Lady Bulldogs, and has directed the Lady Bulldogs to 371 victories over that span.
Saintsing has spent her entire head coaching career at Barton. She joined the staff in 1987 to lead the women’s volleyball and softball programs, and two years later traded her softball duties for those leading women’s basketball. She has maintained that role for the past 27 seasons, compiling 459 victories.
Together, the trio has combined for more than 1,200 career wins at Barton in basketball and softball. (Saintsing produced more than 300 additional wins in 18 seasons of volleyball before retiring from that role in 2006).
The three Barton coaches will join Alleen Hawkins and Kevin Nichols of Erskine College and Charles Wimphrie of Southern Wesleyan as Milestone Award recipients on Monday. Hawkins coaches softball for the Flying Fleet, while Nichols heads the baseball program. Wimphrie directs the men’s basketball team at SWU.
Conference Carolinas will also hand out Legend of the Game Awards, which are given to those earning at least 400 career wins in soccer or lacrosse, 500 wins in basketball or volleyball, 1,000 wins in baseball or softball, or 30 years of coaching in the sports of golf, cross country or track and field.
Three league coaches will receive the Legend honor – George Pitts, men’s basketball coach at King University; Carl Lancaster, baseball coach at University of Mount Olive; and Bob Reasso, men’s soccer coach at Pfeiffer University.
The ceremony will be live-streamed online and can be found on the Conference Carolinas Ustream channel.
Ron Lievense, Barton
Sheryl Neff, Barton
Wendee Saintsing, Barton
Alleen Hawkins, Erskine
Kevin Nichols, Erskine
Charles Wimphrie, Southern Wesleyan
Legend of the Game Award
George Pitts, King
Carl Lancaster, Mount Olive
Bob Reasso, Pfeiffer