Massachusetts head coach Elaine Sortino and longtime Bloomsburg coach Jan Hutchinson are set to be inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. The two will be honored at the 2004 NFCA National Convention, to be held December 3-6 at the Las Vegas Hilton.
Sortino has been named A-10 Coach of the Year an impressive seven times, the most of any coach in any sport in the conference. Her staff has been awarded Speedline/NFCA Northeast Region Coaching Staff of the Year four different seasons.
Elaine Sortino has put Massachusetts softball on the map during her 25 years as head coach of the Minutewomen softball program.
During that tenure she has placed herself among the nation’s elite softball coaches with a career mark of 858-372-3. Her 858 career wins place her among the top 10 active Division I coaches.
This past season her team finished 34-17 and advanced to the NCAA regional tournament for the 14th time in her tenure. During her stint as Minutewoman head coach, UMass has won 16 Atlantic-10 Conference titles and made three trips to the NCAA Women’s College World Series.
“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is probably the most overwhelming event that has occurred in my life,” Sortino said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve known, and it’s still overwhelming. To see people I admire year after year being inducted, and now for me to be joining them, it’s just a tremendous honor that is very hard for me to comprehend."
In 2003 her team placed third out of eight teams in NCAA regional play in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The squad knocked off a trio of ranked opponents to open the season by winning the NFCA Leadoff Classic.
Her 2002 squad tied the eighth-longest win streak in NCAA history as the Minutewomen rolled off 33 consecutive wins to finish the campaign with a school-record 53-13 mark.
During her tenure, Sortino has produced 15 All-Americans, nine Atlantic 10 Player of the Year winners, 11 A-10 Pitcher of the Year selections and 74 all-conference players that include six Rookie of the Year award winners.
In her 25 years, Sortino has won 30 games 18 times, claimed five 40-win seasons and a 50-win season while never finishing a season as UMass head coach with a losing mark.
“I have always felt fortunate to be a coach. I’ve been afforded opportunities to learn from some of the best coaches, including some of my peers at Massachusetts,” Sortino said. “I’ve been blessed to have a school that is committed to the softball program and take pride in it. I’ve been blessed to have great people around me.”
Sortino also serves as associate athletic director for Sports Programs and Student Services at the school. She also holds the title of senior woman administrator.
The New York native joined the Minutewomen after coaching two years at Yale. She also previously coached the UMass volleyball squad.
Sortino graduated from Oneonta (N.Y.) State in 1971, and she earned her graduate degree from University of Bridgeport two years later.
She guided her 1982 Bloomsburg squad to the AIAW national title.
Jan Hutchinson has enjoyed a stellar coaching career in which she ranks among the winningest coaches in NCAA Division II softball history.
Entering her 28th season as head coach at Bloomsburg University, she has posted a mark of 958-216-2, while leading the Huskies to 22 straight showings in the NCAA tournament. Her teams have played in and won more NCAA tournament games than any other team in Division II
Her Huskies have been to the championship round eight of the last 15 years, twice finishing runner-up nationally with a pair of extra-inning losses. Her teams have finished third nationally five times and fourth place twice.
Also the head field hockey coach at Bloomsburg, Hutchinson has won over 1,400 games to rate as the winningest active coach in Division II and the second all-time. She ranks sixth in career victories among all NCAA divisions.
“It is a great honor and privilege to be inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame,” Hutchinson said. “There are many phenomenal people already inducted, and it is humbling to be considered among so many great coaches in the sport.”
Hutchinson’s Bloomsburg teams are referred to numerous times when it comes to NCAA Division II records. Her Husky squads own 16 Division II team, individual or championship records.
She has also been very successful at placing former players in the intercollegiate coaching ranks. Two of her former players, Janelle Breneman and Marty Laudato, both played professionally.
“I’ve been very fortunate to get some talented players. We were successful early in recruiting key players to build the program,” Hutchinson said. “I’ve not only had great players, though, I’ve had great assistant coaches who are a lot of the reason for my success.”
Hutchinson is a 1971 graduate of East Stroudsburg, and she earned her graduate degree from the school in 1979. Prior to taking over at Bloomsburg, she installed the women’s physical education program at Blair Academy while coaching field hockey, basketball and softball there.