STARKVILLE, Miss. – Head coach Clint Myers, associate head coach Robert Wagner and assistant coach Chuck D’Arcy of the 2011 NCAA Division I National Champions Arizona State have been named as the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year, the Association announced on Wednesday.
The Sun Devils went 60-6 on the year and a perfect 10-0 in the national tournament en route to the program’s second national championship in the span of just four years.
Arizona State turned in a 17-4 record in the very tough Pac-10 Conference this season to claim its second league crown in school history and earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Hosting both the regional and super regional rounds in Tempe, the top-seeded Sun Devils made good use of their home field advantage to go 5-0 over both rounds. Arizona State tallied wins over North Dakota State, Long Beach State and San Diego State in the regionals and two over Texas A&M in super regional play to advance to the Women’s College World Series for the fifth time in six years.
Once in Oklahoma City, the Sun Devils left no doubt as to who was the nation's top team in 2011 by going 5-0, including a sweep of Florida in the championship series.
Helping lead the way for Arizona State this season was 2011 Louisville Slugger NFCA First-Team All American and co-WCWS Most Outstanding Player freshman pitcher Dallas Escobedo. Escobedo ended her inaugural campaign at 37-3 with a 1.51 ERA and 324 strikeouts.
Through six seasons in Tempe, Myers has amassed a 324-79 record with six NCAA tournament bids, five WCWS appearances, two Pac-10 titles and two national championships.
For their work this season, Myers and staff also earned the West Region Coaching Staff of the Year award.
Other regional winners this season were:
Central Region – Baylor University (47-15, 11-6 Big 12)
Head Coaches: Glenn Moore
Associate Head Coach: Mark Lumley
Assistant Coach: Britni Sneed
Baylor advanced to its sixth NCAA tournament in the past eight years this season and earned the No. 11 overall seed. After finishing fourth in the Big 12 during the regular season, the Bears made the most of their at-large berth and advanced to the WCWS for the second time in program history. At the WCWS, Baylor finished in a tie for third, advancing to the semi-finals for the first time in school history. Helping lead Baylor this season was 2011 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Second-Team All-American pitcher Whitney Canion, who finished the season with 31 wins, a 1.28 ERA and 339 strikeouts.
Great Lakes Region – Syracuse University (45-13, 15-5 Big East)
Head Coach: Leigh Ross
Associate Head Coach: Wallace King
Assistant Coach: Mike Bosch
Volunteer Assistant Coach: Lindsay Wasek
Syracuse continued to show it is a program on the rise in 2011 by earning its first-ever national ranking and first NCAA tournament win in program history. The Orange, who finished third in the Big East during the regular season, advanced to the NCAA tournament by winning its second-straight conference tournament championship. In NCAA play, Syracuse won its opening game before bowing out with two straight losses. Playing a key role in the Orange’s success this season was 2011 Louisville Slugger/NFCA First-Team All-Great Lake Region pitcher Jenna Caira. Caira struck out 321 batters for Syracuse this season while winning 35 games and allowing just 1.51 earned runs per seven innings.
Mid-Atlantic Region – Fordham University (42-19, 116-4 Atlantic 10)
Head Coach: Bridget Orchard
Assistant Coaches: Bob Baxter & Emily Friedman
Pitching Coach: Brealand Edwards
Fordham earned its second consecutive Mid-Atlantic honor this season by claiming its first Atlantic-10 regular season crown since 2005 and its first tournament championship in program history. In their second-straight NCAA appearance, the Rams picked up just their second-ever tournament win by beating host Penn State in the University Park regional opener. Fordham's season came to a close by falling to Penn State in a re-match that went an incredible 16 innings. Two-time Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American Jen Mineau recorded her second consecutive 20-win season this year that included a streak of 81 consecutive shutout innings.
Mideast Region – East Carolina University (14-10 Conference USA)
Head Coach: Tracey Kee
Associate Head Coach: Natalie Kozlowski
Graduate Assistant Coach: Cristen Aona
East Carolina captured its second-straight Mideast award by parlaying a fifth-place regular season CUSA finish into its second-straight league tournament championship. For their third trip to the NCAA tournament in the past four seasons, the Pirates traveled to the College Park regional where they advanced to regional finals for the second consecutive season. Senior pitcher and first-team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Midwest Region selection Toni Paisley ended her brilliant career in purple and gold as Conference USA’s all-time leader in wins and strikeouts with 118 and 1,290, respectively.
Midwest Region – Oklahoma State University (42-18, 8-10 Big 12)
Head Coach: Rich Wieligman
Assistant Coaches: Clarisa Crowell & Tom Gray
Director of Softball Operations: Pam Stubbs
After finishing seventh in the Big 12 during the regular season, Oklahoma State proved it was a team to be reckoned with in the post-season by winning the Knoxville regional and dispatching host Tennessee in the final. In their first super regionals in program history, the Cowgirls topped Houston at home to advance to the WCWS for the first time since 1998. At the WCWS, Oklahoma State dropped its first two games, but ended the season with 40-plus wins for the second time in as many years. Helping pilot the Cowgirls this season was Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Midwest Region selection Chelsea Garcia. The shortstop batted .312 on the season with 49 runs and 14 extra-base hits.
Northeast Region – University at Albany (28-23, 14-4 America East)
Head Coach: Chris Cannata
Assistant Coaches: Mairin Dudek & Joe Reardon
Volunteer Assistant Coach: Jack Coons
Albany capped a tremendous season by advancing to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in program history. After winning their fourth America East regular-season title since 2004, the Great Danes earned their way into the NCAA tournament by capturing their first league tournament title since 2007. Albany traveled to University Park, Pa., for regional play, but lost its first two games to end the season. First baseman Gina Mason earned second-team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Northeast Region honors this season by hitting a team-leading .404 with team-highs of 29 RBIs and 25 walks.
Pacific Region – University of California, Berkeley (43-13, 15-6 Pacific 10)
Head Coach: Diane Ninemire
Assistant Coaches: Tammy Lohmann & John Reeves
Volunteer Assistant Coach: Angie Jacobs
California advanced to the WCWS for the first time since 2005 after a great regular season that saw the Bears finish second in the Pac-10. In the NCAA tournament, seventh-seeded California earned its first trip to Oklahoma City since 2005 by beating Kentucky two out of three times in the super regionals. In the WCWS, the Golden Bears finished tied for fifth by going 1-2. First-team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American pitcher Jolene Henderson was key in the Bears’ run this season and won 40 games for her team while ending the season with the nation’s third lowest ERA at 0.99
South Region – University of Alabama (53-11, 19-6 Southeastern)
Head Coach: Patrick Murphy
Associate Coach: Alyson Habetz
Assistant Coach: Vann Stuedeman
Director of Operations: Kate Petullo
After winning its second-consecutive SEC regular-season championship, Alabama rolled through the post-season and into its seventh WCWS in program history. The Crimson Tide went 3-0 in regional action and fought back from a game down to win the super regional at home against Stanford. Alabama ended its season in the WCWS semi-finals after going 2-2. This year's south region honor marks the fourth time in as many years that the Alabama coaching staff has won the award. Senior Louisville Slugger/NFCA First-Team All-American Kelsi Dunne capped off her career with the Crimson Tide by going 29-5 with a 1.42 ERA and 331 strikeouts in the circle.
Southeast Region – University of Florida (56-13, 21-7 Southeastern)
Head Coach: Tim Walton
Assistant Coach: Jenny Gladding & Jennifer Rocha
Volunteer Assistant Coach: Coy Adkins
Florida turned in another deep post-season run in 2011 after finishing second in the SEC during the regular season and winning the league's east division. The Gators lost just one game in the regional and super regional rounds to advance to their fourth consecutive WCWS. In Oklahoma City, the Gators finished as the runner-up by going 4-3 including two wins over conference-rival Alabama in the semi-finals. The championship series appearance marks the second time in three years that Florida has advanced to the national finals. The 2011 Honda Sports Award winner for softball, Kelsey Bruder, led six Florida Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Americans this season by hitting .387 with 19 home runs.