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Class of 2006
Eastern Connecticut State: 1977 - 1987, 1993
Clyde Washburne, a 2006 NFCA Hall of Fame inductee in the "Pioneer" category, won four national titles as Eastern Connecticut State University's head coach.
Washburne, who agreed to head up the program in the spring of 1977, signed on just weeks after retiring as Eastern's winningest head men's basketball coach. Today, the 78-year-old Washburne still has the best winning percentage in Eastern Connecticut men's basketball history - .599 percent (133-89 record).
As softball coach, Washburne led Eastern Connecticut to the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Division III national title in 1981, followed by the NCAA's first Division III title in 1982. The softball program at Eastern was put in to comply with Title IX regulations, and teh national championship in 1981 is thought to be the first ever won by a team generated from compliance with the amendment. The 1981 title was also teh first national championship ever won by an Eastern Connecticut State team.
For his trailblazing achievements during the early years of Title IX in the 1970's, Washburne was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame as a "Pioneer." "We (the softball program) challenged the system - we fought the battle alone. We had a point to prove, and we proved it," Washburne said.
Washburne later coached the program to additional national championships in 1985 and 1986. Between 1981 and 1987, Washburne squads earned seven straight national tournament berths, and when he retired in 1987, he had an overall 12-year record of 284-110-1 (71.9 percent).
A 1957 graduate of the University of Connecticut, Washburne was inducted into the Eastern Connecticut State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987. In 1990, he was enshrined in the Connecticut Scholastic and Collegiate Softball Hall of Fame in 1987. In addition, he was named NFCA Division III National Coach of the Year in 1986.