Wed, Mar. 6, 2013
KANSAS CITY - The Freed-Hardeman Lady Lions kept their spot atop the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Coaches Poll in the season's final rating and later learned who their first-round opponent will be in next week's national tournament. FHU (31-1) will face West Virginia Tech on Wednesday, March 13, at 5:45 at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky.
The Lady Lions come into the game with the most wins in the country and one win away from tying the program record. They also enter the tournament with a little unfinished business from last season after being upset in the first round as a No. 1 seed in their quarter.
FHU rides a 17-game winning streak but found itself in a pair of close games during the TranSouth Conference tournament before winning both. The Lady Lions played three games against tournament qualifiers, going 3-0 in those contests.
The other teams in Freed-Hardeman's quarter include second-seeded Vanguard (Calif.), third-seeded MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), and sixth-seeded William Woods (Mo.).
Head Coach Dale Neal is in his 43rd year of coaching and his 19th season at the helm of the Lady Lion basketball program at FHU in Henderson, Tenn.,Few programs in the NAIA have seen the levels of success and consistency that Neal has brought to Freed-Hardeman in the last 16 years. Over that time frame, the Lady Lions are one of only two programs to have won at least 20 games and competed in the NAIA National Tournament every year. Only three schools can claim each accomplishment by itself.
Dale was a star athlete for York College in basketball and helped them to a conference championship in 1966 under legendary coach Colis Campbell. Neal returned to his alma mater and coached the YC men’s basketball team for 11 years (1977-88), where his teams’ combined record was 234-96 (.709), before going to FHU. He received seven coach-of-the-year awards while at York including an NJCAA Region IX Coach of the Year award.
Neal holds an Associates degree from York College ('66), a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harding University ('69), and a Master of Physical Education degree from the University of Nebraska ('80). He and his wife, Kathy, reside in Henderson and have four children, 14 grandchildren, and two step-grandchildren.
3/18/13 The Lady Lions made it to the Final Four in Frankfort, Ky.,defeating West Virginia Institute of Technology 82-48, (14) Campbellsville University 71-52, and (8) Vanguard University 60-49, before losing to Westmont College 49-59 in the semi-final matchup Monday night.
Congratulations on a great season Coach Neal!
One of Neal's star players from the 1986 York College men's basketball team is also making March Madness headlines. Jeff Morgan, head coach of the men's basketball program at Harding University, is taking the Bison to the NCAA Div. II National Championship. Harding (21-9) will meet Central Missouri on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., in Mankato, Minn. Morgan is in his 20th season as the Bisons' head coach and has a career record of 365-231.
3/17/13 Harding defeated Central Missouri 75-71 in the first round of the NCAA Div. II National Championship and was then eliminated in the second round by Minnesota State University 65-86.
Congratulations to Coach Morgan and the Harding Bison on a terrific year!
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