KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Bobby Halford of William Carey (Miss.) has been named the 2017 NAIA-Baseball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year, the NAIA announced Monday. Halford guided the Crusaders to their third all-time appearance in the Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series and first since 1978.

The NAIA-BCA National Coach of the Year is voted on by the NAIA-BCA Executive Committee and NAIA-BCA Past Presidents. To be eligible, a head coach must be selected as their conference or unaffiliated group coach of the year or lead their team to the Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.

Halford led William Carey to a 45-20 record this season, including a title in the Hattiesburg Bracket of the 2017 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. The single-season win total is the second most, trailing a 47-victory season in 1995, in Halford's 32 years at the helm of the program. He currently ranks fourth among active NAIA coaches with a 1,107-682 career record.

As the No. 9 seed at this year's NAIA World Series, William Carey advanced to the semifinals before falling to eventual national champion Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), 12-7. The squad opened the event with an 11-8 victory over No. 8 Hope International (Calif.), marking the first win for William Carey at the World Series since defeating La Verne (Calif.), 5-3, in the 1965 title game.

Under the direction of Halford, the 2017 Crusaders ranked among the top 10 nationally in chances (2,306), assists (642), at-bats (2,070), putouts (1,572), innings pitched (524), runs scored (510), RBI (453) and stolen bases (128). Individually, senior first baseman James Land (SR/Gulfport, Miss.) was named Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Player of the Year and First Team All-American, while three others were named All-SSAC.

Halford is the first head coach from William Carey to be named the NAIA Baseball Coach of the Year.

Article written by Alan Grosbach of the NAIA