CARROLLTON, Georgia -- West Georgia Technical College officials announced today that women's basketball head coach Kenny Edwards has stepped down to pursue other opportunities.
WGTC's search for a new women's basketball coach will begin in the next few days.
"Kenny Edwards ran a first-class program, a program that was successful and competitive both on the court and in the academic arena," said West Georgia Technical College President Steve G. Daniel. "His teams were always prepared, they played with great effort, and in many cases they won games against teams in higher classifications. We will miss Coach Edwards and the tenacious style of play that his players put forth every game.
West Georgia Technical College Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Tonya Whitlock echoed those sentiments.
"I would like to personally thank Kenny Edwards for his several years of dedication to the college and to the women's basketball program. He had such a positive impact on each student-athlete that he coached during his tenure at West Georgia Tech," Whitlock said.
Edwards coached West Georgia Tech for a total of five seasons, starting in 2009-10, when he led the Golden Knights to an 11-9 overall record.
Following a two-year hiatus, Edwards returned in 2012-13 and guided West Georgia Tech to a 17-14 record in the school's second year as a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division-III program.
"I want to thank Coach Edwards for all that he has done to elevate our women's basketball program and wish him the best in his future endeavors," West Georgia Tech Director of Athletics Todd Pratt said. "We'll immediately begin our search to find a replacement who will continue to build upon the foundation that he and his players have built."
Edwards never had a losing season while going 93-49 in his five seasons. He led West Georgia Tech to a 19-10 record and the school's first-ever appearance in the NJCAA National Tournament in 2014. West Georgia Tech went 20-9 the following year and finished one game short from a second-straight trip to the national tournament, falling to Prince George's (Md.) in the District G Championship Game.
This past season was the most memorable one. The Golden Knights got off to an inauspicious 0-2 start before things began to click. WGTC went 10-2 over the next 12 games to take a 12-4 record into the holiday break.
The Golden Knights closed the regular season by winning 14 of their last 15 games and rolled Southern Crescent Tech in the GCAA Conference Tournament Championship Game to earn a matchup with Butler County (Pa.) in the District G Championship Game. WGTC knocked off Butler County and its star forward Julia Baxter, 87-55, and WGTC was back in the NJCAA Tournament for the second time in school history.
West Georgia Tech earned the No. 5 seed in the eight-team field and knocked off No. 4 Mid Michigan in the first round game on a miracle steal and layup by Kia Jefferson in the final seconds, which earned them a spot in the national semifinals. WGTC lost to eventual national champion Roxbury (Mass.) 61-54, and finished fourth in the nation.
Twenty-five of Edwards' players earned All-Conference honors and 16 earned Academic All-Conference selections. During his tenure, Edwards coached three All-Americans, four WGTC players were named Conference Player of the Year and two players, Kadriana Howard in 2014 and Jacky Jones in 2015, earned national player of the week honors.
"I have sincerely enjoyed building the program, but most of all I have enjoyed watching all of our student-athletes grow and succeed," Edwards said. "I would love nothing more than to see the continued success for all involved with West Georgia Tech athletics and the women's basketball program. It's been an honor to coach here, and I'm honored to have called myself a Golden Knight."
Edwards leaves the program in excellent shape for the next coach. He also leaves an indelible mark in the lives of 47 student-athletes that came through the program during his five-year tenure.
West Georgia Tech positioned itself as a mainstay in the national rankings over the last two seasons, climbing as high as No. 6 in 2015 and No. 5 this past season.