The Year in Review » 2011-2012
From the first championship race of the season, to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in tennis, 2011-2012 was a year of winning for the Shaw Bears. Four teams captured CIAA championships and three teams made it at least as far as the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in their sports. And, of course, one team took it all - winning the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship.
The men's cross country team turned in solid performances throughout their season. When they reached the CIAA Championship, though, they stepped it up a notch, turning in their best performance of the season and claiming the CIAA title in what was considered a stunning upset. As a result, William Montague was named Coach of the Year.
The Bears would then go on to the NCAA Regional Cross Country Championship, where they claimed the highest finish ever by a Shaw team - 21st.
Much of the Shaw athletic story for 2011-2012 took place during basketball season, when both the men's and women's teams soared.
The men earned a top ten ranking after sweeping the CIAA schedule. An upset loss in the CIAA tournament did not dampen the team's expectations nor stunt their performance during the NCAA tournament. Seeded second in the Atlantic Region, the men travelled to West Liberty, WV, where they won their first two matches, putting them into the Sweet Sixteen. They played the number one seed West Liberty Hilltoppers as tough as anyone in the tournament, but were not able to overcome their sharpshooters and exited the tournament shy of the Elite Eight.
Malik Alvin, Shaw's hot shooting guard, was named Second Team All-American.
The women, won both the CIAA and NCAA tournament (see related story).
While both softball and baseball turned in solid seasons with young squads, and track posted a number of personal bests in both track and field events, the story - as it is many springs – was the tennis teams.
The men claimed their eighth straight CIAA Championship by defeating Winston-Salem State 5-0. Finishing the season 23-2, the Bears earned the second seed in the Atlantic Region, hosting half of the regional action. The Bears swept their NCAA regional rounds to claim a spot in the final 16 and then traveled to the NCAA National Tournament.
Their first round contest would prove to be a 5-0 loss to the sixth ranked team in the nation, Hawaii Pacific, but the men's team still equaled their best effort in the NCAA tournament.
The women won their third CIAA title in four years, downing WSSU 5-0. They advanced to the NCAA Tournament and, for the first time in program history, the women won their first round match of the tournament, but then fell to California (PA), the eighth ranked team in the nation.
Just as importantly as all the wins, both the men's and women's teams won the CIAA award for having the highest grade point averages in their respective sports.