LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Coming off a third straight national title, University of Oklahoma was voted the 2023 ATEC/NFCA Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year, the Association announced on Thursday afternoon.
Under the guidance of head coach Patty Gasso, along with associate head coach Jennifer Rocha, assistant coach JT Gasso and volunteer assistant Hannah Sparks, the Sooners (61-1) became just the second team to win three consecutive national titles (UCLA 1988-90) and finished 2023 with a program and NCAA Division I-record 53-game winning streak. They have won five of the last seven national championships and seven overall. Their .984 winning percentage also eclipsed UCLA’s Division I record of .964 (54-2), which stood since 1992.
As the NCAA’s No. 1 overall seed for the fourth straight season, OU posted a perfect 10-0 postseason run. At the Women’s College World Series, the Sooners sandwiched a run-rule win over fourth-seeded Tennessee around a pair of two-run triumphs over ninth-seeded Stanford (2-0, 4-2 in 9 inn.) before sweeping the three seed Florida State in the Championship Series, 5-0 and 3-1.
OU, which was undefeated (28-0) against nationally-ranked opponents, won Division I’s batting (.366), ERA (0.96) and fielding (.987) crowns, hitting 30 points higher and owning an ERA over a half run lower than the next program. They once again had the most prolific offense in Division I as the Sooners led the nation in home runs (117), home runs per game (1.89), on base percentage (.456), scoring (8.08) and slugging percentage (.666). Additionally, the pitching staff recorded a Division I-best 35 shutouts.
Gasso, who has led OU to seven national titles, has compiled a 1,456-345-2 (.808) record during her 29-year tenure in Norman and along with her time at Long Beach State, has led her programs to a 1,617 victories in 33 seasons.
Oklahoma (Central) along with Northwestern University (Great Lakes), George Mason University (Mid-Atlantic), Miami University (t-Mideast), Middle Tennessee State University (t-Mideast), Indiana University (Midwest), Boston University (Northeast), University of Utah (Pacific), McNeese State University (South), University of Tennessee (Southeast), San Diego State University (West) garnered Regional Coaching Staff of the Year honors.
Regional (respective region only) and National Coaching Staffs of the Year are voted on by active member head coaches.
The OU staff will be recognized at the NFCA Awards Brunch on Dec. 9 at the 2023 NFCA Convention in Louisville.
Celebrating 40 years in 2023, the NFCA is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded coaches polls and All-America awards, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from podcasts to awards, to in-person events and National Convention.