COLUMBIA, MO -- Muskingum College (Ohio) Head Coach Donna Newberry and her assistant coaches, Sandra Sandford and the late John Wells, have been named the 2001 Speedline/NFCA Division III Coaching Staff of the Year.
The Muskies (47-6) won the NCAA Division III championship despite Wells' death. The long-time pitching coach collapsed and died of a massive coronary while pitching batting practice just prior to Muskingum's second round game against defending champion St. Mary's, which the Muskies won, 2-0. Muskingum then defeated Central College 2-0 and 4-1 to claim the national title. The Muskies finished the season with a NCAA Division III record 34-game winning streak, one better than the previous record of 33 they set in 2000.
Newberry and her staff were selected by their peers as the Speedline Division III Central Region Coaching Staff of the Year and were then placed on the national coaching staff of the year ballot. They will be recognized as the 2001 Speedline/NFCA Division III National Coaching Staff of the Year at the NFCA National Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona, in December.
Other Speedline top regional coaching staffs, as selected by their coaching peers, are:
Great Lakes Region - Illinois Wesleyan University
Mandy Neal, Head Coach
Lyle Day and Emily Starkey, Assistants
Neal, Day and Starkey led IWU to a 39-14 record, the CCIW postseason tournament championship and the No. 16 spot in the final NFCA Division III Top 25. Wesleyan finished second in the NCAA Division III Naperville region to North Central (IL). Neal was 344-178 in 13 seasons at IWU and her teams on 25 or more games in each of the last seven seasons and have won or tied for the CCIW title five of the past seven years. Neal resigned at the end of the season and has accepted a position as head softball coach at St. Mary's of the Woods College in Indiana.
Northeast Region - Oneonta State (NY)
Don Flewelling, Head Coach
John Spranzi (Associate Coach)
Jesse Koughlin, Assistants
Flewelling, who announced his retirement prior to the 2001 season, coached the 2001 team on a part-time basis. O-State finished with a school-best record of 38-10 after losing in the Northeast Region championship to Ithaca College on May 14. Flewelling, who was the SUNYAC Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2001, completed his 11th consecutive winning season for an overall record of 270-105.
New England Region - Tufts University (MA)
Kris Talon, Head Coach
Cora Thompson and Cheryl Milligan, Assistants
Tufts was 28-11-1 overall and won the New England Small College Athletic Conference postseason tournament championship. Talon is now 283-142-3 overall at Tufts. Randee McArdle was named Player of the Year in the NESCAC. Tufts participated in NCAA Division III postseason play for the fifth consecutive year, finishing third in the Bridgewater, Mass., regional.
Midwest Region - Wartburg College (IA)
Randy Schneider, Head Coach
Heather Blair and Terry Schneider, Assistants
Schneider was named Iowa Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after leading
the Knights to their first conference softball crown in school history,
compiling a 16-2 league record, 36-9-1 overall. Wartburg finished second in
the Waverly, Iowa, region to defending Division III champion St. Mary's University. Schneider is 64-23-1 in two years at Wartburg.
Atlantic Region - Salisbury State University (MD)
Margie Knight, Head Coach
Dr. Tom Stitcher, Kirstin Gitt, and Vicki Hardisty, Assistants
Salisbury State (37-9), which won both the regular season and postseason tournament title in the Capital Athletic Conference for the fifth straight season, placed eight players on the All-conference team including CAC Player of the Year April Harned. This is the fifth year in a row that a Salisbury State player has earned CAC Player of the Year honors. The Sea Gulls finished second in the Salem, Virginia, region, behind Roanoke. Knight has a career record of 171-57-1 in five years, 48-2 against CAC teams.
West Region - University of La Verne (CA)
Julie Kline, Head Coach
Frank Whitcher and Ray Eberle, Assistants
LaVerne improved from a 20-21 overall record in 2000 to 33-10 this season. They repeated their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship and produced five first-team all-conference players as well as the SCIAC MVP, shortstop Gina Meza. The Leos earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division III regional in Pella, Iowa.
East Region - Cabrini College (PA)
Bridget Baxter, Head Coach
Karen Pelkey, Assistant
Cabrini was 42-5 this year, second to William Paterson in the NCAA Division III regional in Wayne, N. J. Cabrini won the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference regular season (21-1) and postseason tournament championships. Baxter was PAC Coach of the Year and Cabrini's Rita Horning was conference Player of the Year. Cabrini finished second to William Paterson (N.J.) in the Wayne, New Jersey Region. Baxter is 129-40-2 in four seasons at Cabrini.