The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced that the Softball National Championship will return to Decatur, Alabama in 2009 and 2010. The events will be hosted by the City of Decatur's Parks and Recreation Department at Wilson Morgan Softball Complex.
"The City of Decatur's Parks and Recreation Department is a tremendous partner of the NAIA. I would like to thank the entire host team for their commitment to character-driven intercollegiate athletics and providing a wonderful championship experience for NAIA student-athletes, coaches and fans," said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. "The entire community rallies behind the NAIA softball national championship and it is fitting that the event stays in the Decatur community."
Decatur has a long history of hosting NAIA softball national championship events. Wilson Morgan Softball Complex has hosted the tournament 11 times including 1996, 1997 and 2000 to 2008.
"Decatur has served our softball tournament well over the years," said Dennis Green, NAIA Manager of Championship Sports. "The parks and recreation department, along with the local organizing committee, has done a fantastic job of providing our coaches and student-athletes with memorable national championship experiences and we are thrilled to be heading back for more."
Wilson Morgan Softball Complex features six lighted fields, concessions, quad, press box and batting cages. Each field has a clay infield and beautiful grass, maintained by electronically controlled underground irrigation systems. The facility can seat over 2,000 spectators. Each year, Decatur hosts a number of local, state, regional and national tournaments.
"Decatur is honored and excited to have been chosen to host the 2009 and 2010 NAIA Softball National Championship," said Kelly Varnell, Tournament Director and Event Coordinator. "We consider it a privilege to be affiliated with the caliber of teams and coaches that come to our city. These teams work hard to get to this level of play and we consider it our responsibility to make their quest for the championship as memorable as possible. We are committed to making this another successful tournament and the entire city welcomes NAIA back for another two successful years."
The national championship tournament will feature 32 teams, placed into eight pools and will play a round robin pool play. The top team in each pool will advance to the eight-team double elimination bracket.
Lubbock Christian (Texas), in its inaugural softball season, claimed the 2008 NAIA Softball National Championship title with a victory over Mobile (Ala.). The Lady Chaparrals became the third team in NAIA softball history to come out of the loser's bracket to win the championship. LCU defeated the Rams, 4-3 and 2-1, on the final day for the title.
To learn more about the NAIA visit www.naia.org.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is the governing body for athletics programs at its nearly 300 colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. The long-held mission of the NAIA is to promote the education and development of well-rounded students and productive citizens through intercollegiate athletics. The association offers equitable access and opportunities for participation in its 23 national championship events held annually throughout the country.
Today, the NAIA strengthens its commitment to student-athletes and strives to enrich their college experience by supporting academic achievement and character development. NAIA Champions of Character is the association's innovative flagship program designed to instill character values in student-athletes, coaches and youth in the communities it serves.