The Union Lady Bulldogs had an incredible season last season. They finished with a record of 26-7, a conference record of 20-4, a home record of 13-1, won their conference, had a player named first team All-American and played in the national tournament. However, for their head coach, Dean Walsh, none of those achievements were the most important.
The team finished their academic calendar year with a GPA of 3.3. Even amongst the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, the team was successful in the classroom outside of the classroom. Logan Calvert completed the year with a 4.0 GPA, Brooke Hammonds finished the semester with a 4.0, Katrina Johnson finished with a 3.98 for the year and the team had eight players total finish with the semester with a 3.5 GPA or better.
To Walsh, success in the classroom and the court go hand-in-hand. “I’ve told this team that they can do anything they set their minds to, and they’ve definitely bought into that,” said Walsh. “Success in the classroom translates to success on the court. This group has had more adversity academically than any group I’ve ever had. With the pandemic, they’ve had all kinds of obstacles thrown at them, and they’ve handled every one of them.”
“It’s like this -- basketball is fun,” he said. “It’s easy to stay interested and work hard for something that you enjoy. It’s much more difficult to stay interested and focused when you’re doing something you don’t enjoy. This team has sacrificed just about more, if not more, than any other group I’ve ever had, and they’ve excelled every time they’ve been tested, both on and off the court.”
In a Facebook post, Walsh said, “time to post now and rave about our team and how they did in the classroom during these difficult times. Because of time spent and winning the AAC tournament and the week spent at the NAIA National Tournament in Iowa, then the Corona virus hitting and causing online only classes, it made class work challenging. Focus and time management were brought to a new level. With that being said, this group finished the semester with a 3.2 team GPA and 8 of them with a 3.5 or better and an overall yearly team GPA of a 3.30. This group achieved so much and were WINNERS on and off the court!”