HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The Coker College athletic department will add 17 new members to the Coker Athletics Hall of Fame in October 2011 with the addition of the 1998 Cobra softball team.
After a unanimous vote by the Coker Hall of Fame selection committee, the 1998 softball team will be inducted into the Coker Athletics Hall of Fame during a special induction ceremony to be held during the College’s 2011 Homecoming Festivities on Saturday, October 1.
“This is an outstanding group of student-athletes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” remarked Coker’s Director of Athletics Lynn Griffin. “I am very excited to have these women back at Coker as we continue to redefine Cobra athletics. They redefined Coker softball in 1998 and are more than deserving of this honor, and I am thrilled to have them join the ranks of our Hall of Fame.”
As the 18th inductees into the Coker Hall of Fame, this group becomes just the second full team to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, the first being the 1994 baseball team inducted in 2010.
Arguably one of the greatest Cobra teams of all-time, the 1998 softball team finished with a record of 54-3. They won the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference (CVAC) with a perfect 18-0 record, were the NCAA South Atlantic Region Champions and finished fifth in the nation after going 1-2 at the 1998 NCAA Division II Softball National Championship.
The Cobras started the season with an unbelievable 38-game winning streak, and their record of 54-3 still stands as the best record in Coker history. They also set a record for best winning percentage in NCAA softball at the time.
Individually, the Cobras had two All-Americans: Missy Paterson and Kelly Norris. Coach David Hanna was named Conference Coach of the Year. Paterson was named Conference Player of the Year and was a First Team All-Conference selection. Norris and Angela Williams were also First Team selections, while Heather Sizemore, Amy Nestor and Santrese Jackson all received Second Team All-Conference honors. Norris, Sizemore and Williams were CVAC All-Tournament Team selections, and Paterson was named tournament MVP.
During the NCAA South Atlantic Regional, Jackson, Norris, Paterson and Williams earned All-Tournament honors, and Karen White was named to the National Championship All-Tournament team, as she hit .375 at the National Finals with two runs scored, including the game-winning run in Coker's 1-0 first round victory over Cal State Bakersfield.
Paterson, a 2004 Hall of Fame Inductee, led the nation in 1998 with a 0.41 ERA and 386 strikeouts. She had 23 consecutive victories on the mound and 18 strikeouts in two games (Utica and Longwood). Patterson was also named CVAC Female Athlete of the Year in 1998.
Williams was 13th in the nation in hits with 99 and the Cobra pitching staff led the nation with 9.3 strikeouts per game.
Their prowess on the softball field earned three of the players accolades ten years later as Norris, Williams and Paterson were named to the All-Time CVAC Softball Team in 2008.
This team set the standard by which all other Coker softball teams have and will be measured. They brought not only their program, but the entire College, national recognition and helped shape the future of Coker College athletics.
Members of the 1998 Coker softball team:
Derrell Lee- Assistant Coach
David Hanna- Head Coach