Fans and supporters of GMC JC Softball knew the 2020 season offered some exciting possibilities for the program and the opportunity to reach some impressive heights for players and coaches alike. On Saturday and in grand fashion, the Bulldogs hit a major milestone for their head coach after erasing a 6 run deficit to beat the Spartanburg Methodist Pioneers 13-12 and notch Head Coach Ashley Bunn's 300th Win. The always modest Coach Bunn had this to say after the game, "I am excited about this win… this a tribute to the players we have had in the program and the direction we are headed, and we all want 301 to come quickly."
Coach Bunn arrived at GMC in 2010 after a successful career at Valdosta State where she won conference Championships as both a player and a coach. She took over a program that was six years old and had been reasonably successful but had yet to rise to a level of competing for conference and national championships. Since then, GMC has been a consistent contender on both levels and has rewritten the record books on the young program.
Coach Bunn has amassed eight seasons with 20 or more wins and six winning seasons. She has taken her team to two National Championship tournaments and the last four conference championship games. GMC Athletic Director Bert Williams had this to say about Ashley's accomplishment, "Ashley had a great background for a young coach when we hired her to take over this program and great recommendations from a number of coaches and administrators. She came in with a plan and a positive, "get it done" attitude that her players soon embraced and success followed."
It did not take long for Coach Bunn to make an impact. In 2011 the team went 29-21 but did not rest on the success. With a vision to compete on the national stage, she throttled up the competition and set in for the long haul. From 2012-2014 she built the foundation for what is now a perennial power in the region. In the last five seasons, the team has a .682 winning percentage and has won 30 or more games each season. The 47 wins in 2017 stand as a record.
Her 300th win places Coach Bunn 26th on the NJCAA D1 Softball wins list for active coaches. Coach Bunn doesn't just get wins, she creates winners. Longtime assistant coach Eddie Wise, who has been around for almost all of the wins, commented, "Ashley, relates well with the players, and brings out their best." He added, "The players also know that Ashley is concerned not only with their softball careers but with their education and future life as well." Stats also back this up. Coach Bunn has helped 22 players continue their college education and playing careers at the next level.
When asked what she remembers most about the past 10 years and 300 wins Coach Bunn replied: "It all starts with the kids - we have had all types of players in our program and they each committed their time and effort to make our program successful." She continued. "I also would not be here without the help of Eddie Wise. He has been a very important part of our success over the last seven years."
With most of the season still ahead of them, Coach Bunn and the Bulldogs will get back to work this week as they continue their non-conference slate of games with matchups with St. John Fisher College in Feb 26th at Valdosta State. The Bulldogs will open the GCAA Conference play on March 11 when they host East Georgia State.