Northwestern University head coach Kate Drohan, associate head coach Caryl Drohan and assistant coaches Tori Nyberg and Amanda Rivera have been named the Speedline/NFCA Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year, the association announced Monday.
The Northwestern coaching staff will be honored along with the national winners from other divisions at the 2006 NFCA National Convention in Tucson, Ariz.
Drohan and her staff guided the Wildcats to a national runner-up finish at the 2006 Women’s College World Series, the team’s first appearance in the final eight since 1986. Northwestern’s run in Oklahoma City earned the squad a No. 2 ranking in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Final Poll, the best rating in the team’s history.
Northwestern finished the season with a 50-15 mark, a program first, and claimed its first Big Ten title in 20 years.
The Wildcats’ staff was also named the Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year. Other regional winners were as follows:
Great Lakes Region — Illinois State University
Head Coach — Melinda Fischer
Assistant Coaches — Bill Kennedy, Tina Kramos, and Bill Dickson (Volunteer Asst.)
Fischer and her staff guided Illinois State to a 38-16 final mark that included the program’s first NCAA tournament berth since 2001. Her squad swept a pair of games on the road to capture the Missouri Valley Conference regular season title, the team’s first conference crown since the 2003 campaign.
Mid-Atlantic Region — Lehigh University
Head Coach — Fran Troyan
Assistant Coaches — Stephanie Covelle, Dave Bender and Elizabeth Gripp (Graduate Asst.)
Troyan guided Lehigh to a school and Patriot League record 43-14 season that included a fourth NCAA tournament berth. The Mountain Hawks became the first team in Patriot League history to win a first-round NCAA regional game and two games in a regional. Lehigh won a third straight conference tournament title and eighth consecutive regular season championship.
Midwest Region — University of Texas
Head Coach — Connie Clark
Assistant Coaches — Corrie Hill and Marla Looper
Clark and her staff led Texas to a second straight showing in the Women’s College World Series as it finished the season with a school-record 55-9 final record. The Longhorns finished the season ranked in the top five of the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll after earning the program’s first No. 1 ranking earlier in the season. Clark guided Texas to its third Big 12 regular-season title this season.
Northeast Region — University of Massachusetts
Head Coach — Elaine Sortino
Assistant Coaches — Barb LaFogg and Kaila Holtz
Sortino and her staff led Massachusetts to a 41-16 final record in 2006 and the Amherst regional title in its 12th NCAA tournament appearance. The Minutewomen advanced to the NCAA Super Regional, taking eventual national runner-up Northwestern to the full three games. Under her guidance, UMass also won its 18th Atlantic-10 Conference championship and shared the conference regular-season title.
Pacific Region — Arizona State University
Head Coach — Clint Myers
Assistant Coaches — Robert Wagner and Kirsten Voak
Myers, in his first year at the helm of the Sun Devils, guided ASU to a regional title and a spot in the Women’s College World Series, the program’s 12th appearance in the national tournament. Myers’ squad finished the year 53-15, breaking a number of single-season records including the school marks for home runs, RBIs and runs.
South Region — University of Alabama
Head Coach — Patrick Murphy
Assistant Coaches — Alyson Habetz and Vann Stuedeman
Murphy and his staff guided Alabama to a 54-11 record that included a second straight appearance in the Women’s College World Series and fourth in the last seven years. The Crimson Tide won its first SEC Championship with a 25-4 league record that included a 15-0 start. Alabama won five straight games to claim the NCAA Regional and Super Regional titles.
Southeast Region — North Carolina State University
Head Coach — Lisa Navas
Assistant Coaches — Michelle Green and Jay Pyron
Navas and her staff guided the Wolfpack to a 50-win season in the program’s third year of existence. They led N.C. State to the ACC regular season and conference tournament championships as it advanced to the NCAA regional for the first time and won a game in the tournament to advance to the Baton Rouge regional semifinal. The Wolfpack also received its first national ranking in 2006.
West Region — California State University, Fullerton
Head Coach — Michelle Gromacki
Assistant Coaches — Dee Dee Weiman-Kingsbury, Gina Oaks, Michelle Anunciation (Volunteer Asst.), Crystal Medina (Student Asst.) and Monica Tantlinger (Student Asst.)
Gromacki and the Fullerton staff guided the Titans to a 37-24 final record in 2006. Under their guidance, Cal State Fullerton advanced to the NCAA tournament’s Fresno regional after claiming the program’s fifth Big West conference championship in the last seven years.