COLUMBIA, MO -- University of California head coach Diane Ninemire, assistant coaches John Reeves and Kim Maher, and student assistant Pauline Duenas have been named the 2002 Speedline/NFCA Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year.

Ninemire and her staff guided California to its first-ever national championship as the Golden Bears defeated defending champion Arizona 6-0 in the title game of the Women's College World Series. The Golden Bears compiled an 8-0 record in post-season play, posting wins over Fresno State, Stanford and Cal State Fullerton at the Fresno Regional, then sweeping through the WCWS with wins over Oklahoma, Florida State, Arizona State and Arizona. California became the first Pac-10 team other than Arizona or UCLA to win the Women's College World Series.

The California staff was selected by its peers as the Speedline Division I Pacific Region Coaching Staff of the Year and was then placed on the national coaching staff of the year ballot. They will be recognized as the 2002 Speedline/NFCA Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year at the NFCA National Convention in St. Petersburg, Florida, in December.

Other Speedline top regional coaching staffs, as selected by their coaching peers, are:

Mideast Region (tie) -- Notre Dame (44-17)
Deanna Gumpf, Head Coach
Charmelle Green and Kris McCleary, Assistants

Notre Dame was the runner-up at the Iowa City Regional and finished the season ranked No. 19 in the year-end USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25. The Fighting Irish won 36 of 41 games over the last two months of the season, including a 14-game winning streak and a 13-game winning streak during that stretch. Notre Dame won the Big East regular season title with an 18-2 mark and also won the conference tournament championship.

Mideast Region (tie) -- Wisconsin (31-22)
Karen Gallagher, Head Coach
DeeDee Weiman and Ali Viola, Assistants

Wisconsin made its second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, earning the No. 5 seed at the Iowa City Regional. Wisconsin finished fourth in the Big Ten regular-season standings, marking its best-ever finish in the seven-year history of the softball program. The Badgers, which spent two weeks in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25, posted an early-season shutout over then-No. 1 Arizona.

Great Lakes Region -- Michigan (50-11)
Carol Hutchins, Head Coach
Bonnie Tholl and Jennifer Brundage, Assistants

Michigan reached the Women's College World Series for the second consecutive year and the sixth time overall. The Wolverines won both the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships. Michigan went unbeaten in both the Big Ten Tournament and the Ann Arbor Regional, including a win over top-seeded Washington. The Wolverines entered the WCWS on a 16-game winning streak. Michigan was ranked No. 7 in the final USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25.

West Region -- Cal State Fullerton (53-12)
Michelle Gromacki, Head Coach
Terry Schweikert and Erika Blanco, Assistants
Susie Parra, Volunteer Assistant

Cal State Fullerton's season was highlighted by a 33-game winning streak, which is tied for the ninth-longest winning streak in Division I history. The Titans were the top-seeded team at the Fresno Regional and finished asrunners-up to eventual national champion California. Cal State Fullerton, which was ranked as high as No. 7 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25, won the Big West Conference title with a 22-2 conference mark. The Titans won their second consecutive Kia Klassic, which featured 11 nationally ranked teams and four Women's College World Series participants.

Midwest Region -- Nebraska (50-14)
Rhonda Revelle, Head Coach
Lori Sippel and Jennifer Cline, Assistants

Nebraska made its first appearance in the Women's College World Series since 1998, finishing in a fifth-place tie. The Huskers were the top-seeded team at the NCAA No. 7 Regional and went unbeaten to earn a trip to the WCWS. Nebraska won its first-ever NFCA Leadoff Classic championship, which sparked a school-record 23-game winning streak. The Huskers were ranked as high as No. 4 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 and finished at No. 6 in the year-end poll.

South Region -- Auburn (38-27)
Tina Deese, Head Coach
Mike Perniciaro and Amy Reif, Assistants

Auburn made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, earning the No. 4 seed at the No. 8 Regional. The 38 wins were the most for the Tigers in the six-year history of softball at Auburn. The Tigers were the No. 3 seed in the SEC Tournament, their highest-ever seed in the conference tournament. Auburn's 15 conference wins matched a school record. Coach Deese was one of three coaches to share SEC Co-Coach of the Year honors.

Southeast Region -- Florida State (55-20)
JoAnne Graf, Head Coach
Louie Berndt and Heather Compton, Assistants

Florida State made its first trip to the Women's College World Series since 1993 and finished tied for third, posting a 2-2 mark at the WCWS. The Seminoles opened the WCWS by defeating top-seeded UCLA, becoming only the second No. 8 seed in WCWS history to defeat the No. 1 seed. Florida State won three games in one day at the No. 8 Regional to advance to the WCWS. During the season, Coach Graf picked up career win No. 1,125 to surpass Judi Garman as the all-time winningest collegiate softball coach.

Mid-Atlantic Region -- Army (31-19-1)
Jim Flowers, Head Coach
Michelle Gerdes, Alex Heidenberg and Rufus Phelps, Assistants

Army reached the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years and posted its first-ever NCAA post-season victory. The Black Knights also set a school record for most wins in a season since moving to Division I in 1991. After finishing second in the regular season standings, Army won the Patriot League Tournament to earn the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Northeast Region -- Princeton (34-18)
Maureen Davies, Head Coach
Jen Sewell, Assistant

Princeton won its first Ivy League title and NCAA Tournament berth since 1996. The Tigers earned the No. 4 seed at the No. 2 Regional in their first post-season appearance since advancing to the 1996 Women's College World Series. The 34 wins are 14 more than the previous year and represent the Tigers' highest single-season win total since their 44-win season in 1996. Princeton posted a 13-1 Ivy League, setting a school record for most conference wins in a season.

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