LEVELLAND—The South Plains College men's and women's track and field teams recently concluded their 2016-2017 Indoor season at the NJCAA Indoor National Championships in Pittsburg, Kansas on March 3-4 at the Robert W. Plaster Center on the campus of Pittsburg State University.
The Texans finished the season as the National Runner-Up, while the Lady Texans brought home a third place national finish. Those accomplishments went far from unnoticed, as first-year head coach Erik Vance was named the 2017 USTFCCCA Indoor West Region Coach of the Year, and first-year assistant coach Justin Hobbs was named the 2017 USTFCCCA Indoor West Region Assistant Coach of the Year as voted on by USTFCCCA member coaches.
"Any time you get recognized with an award like that that's voted on by your peers in the region, you're definitely happy to get that recognition," Vance said. "But, at the end of the day, it comes down to the kids that we have on our team and the work they put in and the staff that puts in the work and gets the athletes where they're at.
"It's more of a staff award to me than it is anything else, but it's nice to see our program getting the recognition that we got, so I can't complain about it."
Coach Vance and company continued to progress throughout the season which ended with the Texans and Lady Texans finishing the season as two of the top programs in the country, much in part due to complete performance across the board week in and week out.
After being promoted to head coach on August 12, 2016, Vance brought in Hobbs from Tarleton State University where he served as the assistant coach for five years and produced 10 All-Americans. Hobbs continued that trend in his first season on the South Plains, guiding freshman Laquan Nairn, who was named the 2017 USTFCCCA Indoor West Region Men's Field Athlete of the Year to a first place finish in the long jump and a second place finish in the triple jump at the national meet.
"There's a lot of great coaches in the NJCAA, so it's an honor to get that award," Hobbs said. "Like coach Vance said there's only so much you can take credit for, just because I was lucky enough to coach the group that I get to coach on a daily basis. They have great attitudes and they are very motivated, and that in itself I think has more to do with anything that I did. It's a great honor and great to get some publicity brought to the program and to the school."
Coach Vance and coach Hobbs recently discussed their Coach of the Year honors which can be seen at the video below: