LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The eight programs that reached the 2019 Division II National Championships were selected by their peers as the NFCA Regional Coaching Staffs of the Year, announced the Association on Tuesday morning.
Representing each of the NFCA’s eight Division II regions, these respective coaching staffs – West Chester University (Atlantic), Augustana University (Central), Long Island University Post (East), Grand Valley State University (Midwest), University of West Florida (South), Texas A&M University-Kingsville (South Central), Young Harris College (Southeast) and University of California, San Diego (West)- are now eligible for the NFCA Division II National Coaching Staff of the Year award, which will be announced on June 12.
The list includes national champion Augustana and national runner-up Texas A&M-Kingsville. Additionally, West Chester garnered its second straight recognition, while TAMUK and Young Harris are first-time coaching staff of the year recipients.
Atlantic – West Chester
Head Coach: Diane Lokey
Assistant Coach: Laura Altenburger
Record: 40-22 | 11-5 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East
Returned to the NCAA Championships for the second straight year as Atlantic Region champions… No. 7 overall seed… Won the PSAC East regular-season for the sixth straight season… As the four seed, won the East Regional No. 1 and then knocked off Shepherd, 2-1 in Super Regionals… Finished NCAA postseason play with a 6-3 mark, 1-2 at NCAA Championships… Diane Lokey was named PSAC East and Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
Central – Augustana
Head Coach: Gretta Melsted
Assistant Coaches: Nat Wagner, Kelsey Thompson
Record: 61-11 | 27-3 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference
2019 National Champions… No. 3 overall seed… Matched single-season record with 61 wins… 10-2 record in NCAA postseason… NSIC Tournament champions… Finished second in NSIC regular season and was No. 3 seed in the Central Region… Knocked off No. 2 Winona State in regionals and No. 1 Central Oklahoma in Super Regionals, both on the road, to reach the program’s fifth NCAA Division II Softball Championships.
East – LIU Post
Head Coach: Jamie Apicella
Assistant Coaches: Megan Butterworth, Lou Vanacore
Record: 51-13 | 22-2 East Coast Conference
Made fifth NCAA Division II Softball Championships appearance… No. 1 overall seed… Captured the East Region title taking two-of-three on road from No. 1 East Region seed Saint Anselm… Hanna Finkelstein hit a walk-off grand slam against New Haven, sending the Pioneers to Super Regionals… Program-record 51 wins… Head coach Jamie Apicella collected his 800thcareer win on April 5 versus American International… Captured ECC regular season title… Apicella named ECC Coach of the Year.
Midwest – Grand Valley State University
Head Coach: Dana Callihan
Assistant Coaches: Jen Rivera, Aaron Daldos, Jessi Ramos
Record: 51-10 | 24-6 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
National semifinalists in program’s fourth NCAA Division II Championships appearance… GLIAC regular and conference tournament champions… As No. 1 seed, swept through Midwest Regional and Super Regionals with 5-0 mark… 2-2 at national championships with wins over LIU Post and West Florida… Dana Callahan named GLIAC Coach of the Year for third straight season… 51 victories are second most in program history.
South – West Florida
Head Coach: Ashliegh McLean
Assistant Coach: Emma Johansen
Graduate Assistant: Becca Taylor
Student Assistant: Taylor Baynes
Record: 54-11 | 25-4 Gulf South Conference
As No. 2 overall seed, made second NCAA Division National Championships appearance in last four years… 54 wins are the most for the Argonauts since 2005… Gulf South regular season and tournament titles… No. 1 seed in South Region… Made a 16.5 game improvement from 2018 season… Set program record with .977 fielding percentage… Senior class reached the NCAA Tournament all four seasons and posted 173 wins… Ranked in the NFCA’s top-10 all season, including No. 1 for four weeks… Ashliegh McLean named GSC Coach of the Year.
South Central – Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Head Coach: Craig Nicholson
Assistant Coach: Justin Lewis
Graduate Assistant: Melina Sanchez
Student Assistant: Sarah Gilbert
Record: 52-10 | 24-6 Lone Star Conference
National runner-up in first-ever NCAA Division II National Championships appearance… Best campaign in program history both in terms of win total, win percentage and national finish… Opened NCAA postseason with nine straight victories, including game one of championship series… No. 1 seed in South Central Region and No. 4 overall at NCAA Championships… Lone Star regular season and tournament champions… Ranked in the NFCA Coaches poll since March 6 and reached as high as No. 3… Craig Nicholson named LSC Coach of the Year.
Southeast – Young Harris
Head Coach: Kayla Lucas
Assistant Coaches: Amanda Henderson, Hannah Reppert, Sara Alderman
Record: 44-20 | 15-5 Peach Belt Conference
National semifinalists… No. 8 overall seed… Guided YHC to first-ever NCAA Division II National Championships appearance… Captured Southeast Region championship as No. 5 seed, knocking off No. 1 North Georgia in regionals and No. 3 Lincoln Memorial in Super Regionals, both on the road… 7-3 postseason record, which included wins over LIU Post and West Chester during championships… Recorded a program-best 44 wins (NCAA era) and the highest national tournament finish.
West – UC San Diego
Head Coach: Patti Gerckens
Assistant Coaches: Jessica Millsap, Megan Griffith, Nicole Hennessey
Volunteer Assistant: Ray Noelte
Record: 37-17 | 24-9 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA)
West Region champions as No. 2 seed… 5-2 record in postseason, sweeping through Regionals and Super Regionals… No. 6 overall seed… Knocked off No. 1 West Region seed Concordia Irvine on the road to reach NCAA Division II National Championships… Patti Gerckens named CCAA Coach of the Year.