Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (GA) is headed from the NJCAA to the NAIA in July, 2024. The college, which dropped basketball back in 2008, will re-start their men’s and women’s programs as they move to the four-year level and join the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC).
To get ready for this move, ABAC has named Calvin Sinkfield as their new head men’s basketball coach. The school released the following statement on the hiring:
“I’ve known about ABAC for a long time,” Sinkfield said. “I’ve probably driven by the college hundreds of times over the years but never stopped to see the campus. It’s amazing and it’s exciting to have the opportunity to bring back something that was such a focal point on campus and in the community.”
The majority of Sinkfield’s playing and coaching career has been in Georgia. A native of Griffin, Sinkfield played a key role in the success of Griffin High’s basketball program in the late 1980s and early 1990s, compiling a 95-12 record during his time there. Paired with high school All-American Darrin Hancock, that run included a state championship in 1988.
In college, he played on a national tournament team at Odessa (Texas) College before transferring to Georgia Southern. He started 54 games over two years with the Eagles, averaging 14.0 points and 6.2 rebounds while leading his team to the NCAA tournament in 1992 as champions of the Trans America Athletic Conference.
His successful playing career launched him into coaching with stops at his two collegiate alma maters as well as a year as Hugh Durham’s assistant at Jacksonville University. His return to the high school ranks included stops at Griffin, Sandy Creek, and Spalding High School before he accepted the challenge to start the men’s basketball program at Southern Crescent Technical College in 2010. His Tigers twice won their league title, and he was named the NJCAA Division III Region XVII Coach of the Year for the 2017-2018 season.
ABAC Athletic Director Charles Wimberly believes Sinkfield’s background makes him a great fit.
“Calvin is impressive with his knowledge of the game and his passion to win,” Wimberly said. “He has a great track record of success, and he knows that creating a positive culture is a key to having a sustainable winning program. We’re fortunate to have him as part of our program.”
Sinkfield said the challenge of rebuilding ABAC’s men’s program is exciting.
“Restarting a program brings with it a lot of challenges and opportunities,” he said. “But I can already tell that ABAC basketball is even bigger than I imagined. I see the possibility of a lot of growth now that we’re going to be a four-year program for the first time. It really stretches the imagination.”
Sinkfield knows there is no time to waste in this process. He has already started recruiting and has a good idea of what he’s looking for in future Stallions.
“I want players with great character who understand the importance of getting a four-year degree,” he said. “One of the biggest thrills of coaching is watching your players graduate and knowing that you’ve embedded in them as much as you can for success in life after basketball.
“We’ll be looking for quality high school players and we’ll also look for some transfers,” he added. “I’m a competitive and intense coach and I believe that your style of play depends on the talent that you have. As a coach, you have to be able to adjust your style to your players.”
ABAC men’s and women’s teams will begin play as members of the Southern States Conference this fall.