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Class of 2003
St. Louis Community College - Meramec: 1975 - 2003
Celeste Knierim, who was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame in 203 after 30 years in coaching, made her name at St. Louis Community College at Meramec. She joined the staff there in 1973 and never left until her retirement in 2004, also serving as an associate professor of physical education and coach for volleyball, basketball and field hockey at some time during her tenure.
Knierim's heralded softball coaching career culminated with 1,043 victories (1,043-542), making her the all-time winningest coach in the history of NJCAA softball. In fact, she earned a spot in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" for claiming her 1,000th-career victory in 2004.
During her storied career, she led the Magic to 16 appearances in the NJCAA national championship and garnered 25 conference titles. At nationals, Knierim's teams placed in the top five 11 of 16 years, including three second-place finishes.
For her success, she earned numerous regional and conference coaching accolades, and many of her players also were recognized. Forty-five were named NJCAA All-American, while 39 were NFCA All-American. There were 125 all-conference and 119 all-region selections as well.
Knierim, who played ASA softball from 1963 to 1978, graduated from Northeast Missouri State (now Truman State) in 1972. While in Kirksville, she played field hockey and volleyball, along with softball, and was captain of all three varsity teams from her freshman through senior years. She received her master's degree from NMSU in 1973.
Also involved in coaching as the international level, Knierim was in the USA coaching pool from 2000 to 2008, as well as coach and later administrator for NJCAA all-star teams participating in Canada Cup from 1993 through 2002. She was involved in NJCAA committee work too, serving as president of the NJCAA Softball Coaches Association from 1994-96.
Knierim has been recognized by numerous halls of fame in addition to the NFCA, including the NJCAA (1999), St. Louis/Meramec Athletics (2002), St. Louis ASA (2004) and NJCAA Region 16 (2007). She was the winner of the St. Louis Women of Achievement Award in 2000 and the Sigma Kappa Sorority Colby Award in 2006.
Also a noted clinician, Knierim continues to teach softball, conduct clinics, coach teams on tours internationally and administer tournaments in the St. Louis area.