FORT MYERS, Fla. – Head Coach Dave Tollett claimed his third consecutive Coach of the Year award as FGCU placed four players on the All-Atlantic Sun First Team and a pair of players on the Second Team, the conference office announced on Tuesday. No program besides FGCU, which is the first-ever team to three-peat and to win every A-Sun series, had more than two representatives on the first team.
Head Coach Dave Tollett became the just the third head coach to win back-to-back-to-back Coach of the Year honors (Stetson’s Pete Dunn: 1988-90; Ga Southern’s Jack Stallings: 1985-87). Tollett has led the Eagles to three consecutive regular season titles, combining for a 111-51 overall record and a 73-20 conference record in the Eagles three years in the A-Sun. The Eagles were successful against top caliber non-conference opponents on the road this season, picking up victories at Clemson (4-2), FAU (8-5), Wichita State (7-2), FIU (10-7), USF (10-9), and Oklahoma State (10-7). Under Tollett’s leadership the Blue and Green also successfully claimed all 10 A-Sun Conference series on the season, sweeping three-game sets with USC Upstate, Campbell, Belmont, ETSU, and UNF.
"We had a lot of players play really well this season," said Tollett. "The entire team came together to pull out some very tightly contested games and to defend our regular season championship. I appreciate the efforts of our players and coaches.
Much like in 2008 and 2009 when FGCU also won regular season titles, the Eagles led the way with four members on the All-Atlantic Sun First Team, to go along with Tollett’s second consecutive Coach-of-the-Year award. Chris Sale (Lakeland, Fla.), who was recently placed in the top 25 for the National Pitcher of the Year Award, unanimously captured the A-Sun Pitcher of the Year award after leading all three of the pitching Triple Crown categories - an unblemished 10-0 record, a 1.97 ERA and a nation’s best 135 strikeouts. His strikeout total already ranks among the 10 best in A-Sun history and as the most in the league since Justin Pope of UCF sat down 158 in 2001. The junior joins former teammate Richard Bleier as the second Eagle in the program’s three seasons in the league to garner the Pitcher of the Year honor.
Pete Woodworth, owner of nine victories, accompanies Sale among the First Team starting pitchers. The double-play tandem of second baseman Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and shortstop Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) round out FGCU’s First-Team honorees. Woodworth (St. Petersburg, Fla.) finished the year with a 9-2 record and a 4.70 ERA in 82.1 innings of work. The senior righty has also fanned 67 batters this season. Alvarez led the Eagles in batting during the regular season a .398 average with 15 doubles, 59 runs scored, four home runs, and 37 RBI. Wickens, who is a quarterfinalist for the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award and also ranks 28th in the nation in hits, finished the 2010 regular season with a .362 average to go with his 32 RBI, 60 runs, and 17 stolen bases.
The Blue and Green placed starting pitcher Richie Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and first baseman Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) on the Second Team. Erath finished the season with a 7-3 record (3.90 ERA) and 76 strikeouts (ranks second on the team), while holding opposing hitters to a .258 batting average. Maxfield, the 2010 A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year, wrapped up the season with a .371 batting average, 18 doubles, 10 homers, and 56 RBI, which all rank second on the team.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun stands for achievement with integrity in both the academic and athletic arenas, with a focus on the balance between the two for our student-athletes. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.