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UCLA Named NFCA Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year

STARKVILLE, Miss. – The coaches of the 2010 NCAA Division I National Champions UCLA have been named as the 2010 National Fastpitch Coaches Association National Coaching Staff of the Year, the Association announced on Wednesday. 

The Bruins went 50-11 on the year and were led by fourth-year head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez, assistant coaches Lisa Fernandez and Gina Veccione and volunteer assistant coach Natasha Watley. 

UCLA finished the 2010 regular season in second place in the Pac-10 and earned the fifth-overall seed with an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. UCLA beat St. Mary's (CA), San Diego State and Fresno State to finish the regional round with an undefeated record for the 19th time in program history. 

The Bruins then went on to sweep Louisiana-Lafayette in the Los Angeles Super Regional to earn their 24th trip to the Women’s College World Series. In Oklahoma City, UCLA capped its perfect post-season record by going 5-0, including two wins over conference rival Arizona in the championship series, to earn the 11th national title in program history. 

Just the third head coach in the history of UCLA softball, Inouye-Perez now joins her predecessors, NFCA Hall of Famers Sharon Backus and Sue Enquist, in the ranks of the school's head coaches that have led the Bruins to a combined 106 team national championships, the most by any school in the NCAA. 

The Bruins had two players selected to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America first team this season, GiOnna DiSalvatore and the 2010 WCWS Most Outstanding Player Megan Langenfeld earning the honor. 

For their work this season, Inouye-Perez and staff also earned the West Region Coaching Staff of the Year award. 

Other regional winners this season were: 

Central Region – University of Louisiana at Lafayette 

Co-Head Coaches: Michael Lotief & Stefni Lotief 
Assistant Coach: Chris Malveaux 

Louisiana was 45-18 this year and won both the Sun Belt regular season and tournament championships, marking the third straight season that they claimed both titles. The Ragin’ Cajuns then won the Baton Rouge Regional, which included then No. 17 LSU and No. 20 Texas A&M, and advanced to the super regionals for the second time in three years. Louisiana-Lafayette was led this season by first-team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Region selections Vallie Gaspard and Christi Orgeron and second-team selection Donna Bourgeois. 

Great Lakes Region – University of Michigan 

Head Coach: Carol Hutchins 
Associate Head Coach: Bonnie Tholl 
Assistant Coach: Jennifer Brundage 
Volunteer Coach: Becky Marx Keogh 

Michigan won their third straight Big Ten title in 2010, marking the 13th time in the last 18 years that they have won the conference crown. The Wolverines then defeated Wright State once and then No. 24 Notre Dame twice to claim the Ann Arbor Regional championship, before falling to Tennessee in the super regionals. The Wolverines had four Louisville Slugger/NFCA Second Team All-Americans this season in Jordan Taylor, Dorian Shaw, Maggie Viefhaus and Nikki Nemitz. 

Mid-Atlantic Region – Fordham University 

Head Coach: Bridget Orchard 
Assistant Coaches: Emily Friedman & Bob Baxter 
Pitching Coach: Mike Forsythe 

Fordham earned their first ever trip to the NCAA tournament this season and set seven new school single-season records including most wins with 49. Fordham finished second in the Atlantic 10 in both the regular season and the tournament and earned an at-large bid to the College Park Regional. The Rams defeated Maryland twice en route to the regional title game, where they fell to then No. 11 Oklahoma. Fordham was led this season by 2010 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American Jen Mineau, who was just one of three pitchers to be named to this year's first team. 

Mideast Region – East Carolina University 

Head Coach: Tracy Kee 
Associate Head Coach: Natalie Kozlowski 
Graduate Assistant Coach: Keli Harrell 

East Carolina claimed their first Conference USA regular season and tournament titles in 2010 and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years. In regional action, ECU eliminated both Iona and seventh-seeded Texas, before falling to BYU in the final. Helping lead the Pirates this season was third team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American and two-time Conference USA Pitcher of the Year Toni Paisley. 

Midwest Region – University of Missouri 

Head Coach: Ehren Earleywine 
Assistant Coaches: Melissa Tucci and Pete D’Amour 
Volunteer Assistant Coach: Phil Bradley 

Missouri, who spent much of the season ranked in the Top 10, took second place in this year's Big 12 tournament and received an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament. This year's appearance marked the 14th time in school history and the fifth in six years that they were included in the field of 64. Entering regional play as the host and ninth seed, the Tigers went 3-0 and defeated DePaul and then No. 18 Illinois twice to claim the championship. Missouri defeated No. 14 Oregon, 2-0, in the super regionals to earn their second straight trip and fifth overall to the WCWS. The Tigers' 51 wins in 2010 set a new school record, breaking last year's mark of 50. Helping guide Missouri back to the WCWS this season was Louisville Slugger/NFCA third team All-American and WCWS All-Tournament selection Rhea Taylor. 

Northeast Region – Long Island University 

Head Coach: Roy Kortmann 
Assistant Coaches: Bill Gehrke & Krystal Mejia Forbes 
Volunteer Assistant Coach: Jessie DePippo 

Long Island claimed the Northeast Conference regular season and tournament championships in 2010, earning a berth in to the NCAA tournament. The NEC Championship was the third in four years for the Blackbirds, who finished the season at 39-18. In the Amherst Regional, the Blackbirds defeated then No. 21 Massachusetts and Boston University, but eventually fell to 13th-seeded Arizona State in the title game. The tournament run not only marked the best post-season finish in program history, but the most wins as well, with 39. Long Island placed three players, Brynn Lewis, Blaire Porter and Bianca Mejia, on the Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Region first team and two, Mariesha Marker and Chelsea Martinson, on the second team.

Pacific Region – University of Washington 

Head Coach: Heather Tarr 
Assistant Coaches: Gina Carbonatto, Lance Glasoe, J.T. Amico 
Student Assistant Coach: Dru Hester 

Washington spent the entire regular season as the No. 1 team in the nation and went 17-4 in league play to earn the program's first Pac-10 championship since 2000 and third overall. The Huskies earned the right to host a regional and went 3-0 in the event to advance to the Seattle Super Regional against then 11th-ranked Oklahoma. After dropping the first game to the Sooners, Washington took the final two games to earn their 10th trip to the WCWS. The Huskies had three first team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Americans this season in Danielle Lawrie, Niki Williams and Jenn Salling. In addition, Lawrie was also named as the USA Softball Player of the Year. 

South Region – University of Alabama 

Head Coach: Patrick Murphy 
Associate Head Coach: Alyson Habetz 
Assistant Coach: Vann Stuedeman 
Graduate Assistant Coach: Ashley Holcombe 

Alabama claimed the SEC regular season and tournament titles for the first time in program history in 2010 and were named the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. Alabama improved to 32-9 all-time in regional play by going a perfect 3-0 in the Tuscaloosa Regional to claim its sixth straight regional crown. In the Tuscaloosa Super Regional, the Tide took game one from Hawaii, but dropped the final two games of the series to end a season-high 28 game win streak and finish the year with a 52-11 record. Alabama was led in part this season by Louisville Slugger/NFCA second team All-Americans Charlotte Morgan and Kayla Braud and third team honoree Kelsi Dunne. 

Southeast Region – University of Tennessee 

Co-Head Coaches Karen Weekly & Ralph Weekly 
Assistant Coach: Marty McDaniel 
Volunteer Assistant Coach: Marc Weekly 

Tennessee finished third in the Western Division of the SEC in 2010 and advanced to the semi-finals of the post-season tournament. The Lady Vols, who went 49-15 on the year, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and were given the 15th seed. Tennessee went 3-0 in the Knoxville Regional, before moving on to the Ann Arbor Super Regional where it shocked then No. 2 Michigan by eliminating the Wolverines in two games. At the WCWS, Tennessee won its first two games to advance to the semi-finals out of the winner's bracket, but lost to Arizona twice to bow out of the tournament. The Lady Vols had two Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American selections, with Raven Chavanne and Kat Dotson earning third team honors.