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Cathi Aradi

St. Thomas Named Speedline/NFCA National Coaching Staff of Year for Second Straight Season

St. Thomas head coach John Tschida, along with assistant coaches Tim Gormley, Jennifer Meyer, Brad Horstman and Dana Ballard, have been named the Speedline/NFCA Division III National Coaching Staff of the Year. 

The Tommies’ staff will be honored at the 2004 NFCA Convention in Las Vegas. 

Tschida and the Tommies’ staff finished 46-4 on the year and won its first NCAA softball national title. 

St. Thomas’ championship capped a tremendous run that included a Division III-record 41-game win streak. 

In addition to the national honor, St. Thomas was also tabbed Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year. Other regional winners were as follows: 

ATLANTIC REGION — Salisbury University 
Head Coach: Margie Knight 
Assistant Coaches: Dr. Tom Stitcher, Lisa Gentilella, Jason Carl 

Knight and her Sea Gull staff led Salisbury to a third straight NCAA tournament appearance and an eighth straight conference title and NCAA tournament berth. The Sea Gulls finished the campaign 41-8, marking the ninth straight season Knight’s squads have won at least 30 games. 

CENTRAL REGION — Muskingum College 
Head Coach: Donna Newberry 
Assistant Coaches: LeAnn Fonner, Jen Segner 

Newberry and her staff guided the Muskies to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Division III National Championship. Her team ended the season with a 43-7 record, the fifth straight year the Muskies have won 40 or more games. Her team won the Ohio Athletic Conference for the seventh straight season and made its third appearance in the national tournament in four years. 

EAST REGION — Moravian College 
Head Coach: John Byrne 
Assistant Coaches: Scot Dapp, Becky Stroup, Ron Cardinal, Scott Hoke, Erin Kelly 

Byrne led the Greyhounds to the school’s first appearance in the NCAA Division III National Championship, where they finished as national runner-up. His squad won the NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic to earn the school’s first top ranking. Moravian finished 40-6, a school record for victories in any sport. 

GREAT LAKES REGION — Augustana College 
Head Coach: Kris Kistler 
Assistant Coaches: Dave Hebblen, Tracy Daxon 

Augustana had one of the best years in school history under Kistler in 2004. The Vikings won the fist College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin title in the program’s history. Augustana finished the season 36-9 and finished third in NCAA regional action, losing to eventual regional winner Alma. The Vikings set 10 school records during the 2004 campaign. 

NEW ENGLAND REGION — Wheaton College 
Head Coach: Gina Loudenburg 
Assistant Coaches: Jill D’Arcy, Bob Roscoe and Amy Sassin 

Loudenburg led Wheaton to the national tournament for the third time in the program’s history. The Lyons finished with a 33-12-1 mark and captured its third NCAA regional tournament title after advancing to the tournament for the seventh time in eight years. Wheaton won its fifth conference tournament title and sixth regular-season championship. 

NORTHEAST REGION — SUNY Cortland 
Head Coach: Julie Lenhart 
Assistant Coaches: Tara Schanbacher, Maria McFeely, Brad Posner 

Lenhart led her team to its second straight appearance at the NCAA Division III National Championship and fourth in the program’s history. Her Red Dragons finished the season 37-9, marking the fourth straight season her squads have posted 30 or more wins. The Red Dragons also clinched the SUNYAC regular season title. 

WEST REGION — Linfield University 
Head Coach: Jackson Vaughan 
Assistant Coaches: Micki Vaughan, Kimo Mahi 

Vaughan led his Linfield squad to its first Northwest Conference championship in nearly 20 years and the program’s first NCAA Division III tournament appearance, where they fell in the regional final. The Wildcats finished the season 36-9, including a 26-2 conference mark that claimed them the conference title.