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Washington Named NCAA Division I Coaching Staff of the Year

Head coach Heather Tarr and her entire coaching staff at the University of Washington have been selected as the NFCA’s NCAA Division I Coaching Staff of the Year, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced on Monday. Tarr and her staff piloted the Huskies to the first NCAA Championship in program history earlier this month. 

Tarr led a staff comprised of assistant coaches Gina Carbonatto and Lance Glasoe, volunteer assistant J.T. D’Amico and student assistant Dru Hester. 

The Washington Huskies captured the first NCAA softball championship in school history in 2009, sweeping the best-of-three championship series from top-seeded and top-ranked Florida. Washington, the Pac-10 runner-up with a 14-7 conference record (51-12 overall), played its entire posteason schedule away from the friendly confines of Husky Stadium, traveling to Amherst, Mass., where Washington defeated Sacred Heart and UMass to advance to Sunday’s regional championship. After dropping that first regional game, the Huskies and Minutewomen engaged in a 15-inning struggle with UW prevailing 6-1. The next trip was to Atlanta, where the Huskies swept Georgia Tech to advance to the WCWS where Washington went 5-1 en route to the title. 

Washington was also selected as the the Pacific Region Coaching Staff of the Year for the 2009 season. 

Ten additional staffs were named Regional Coaching Staffs of the Year. Those regional winners are as follows: 

Central: Baylor (40-22) 
Head Coach: Glenn Moore 
Associate Head Coach: Mark Lumley 
Assistant Coach Britni Sneed Newman 
Volunteer Assistant Coach Josh Newman 
Student Assistant Coach Maritza Martinez 

Baylor advanced to the Ann Arbor Super Regional in the 2009 season, falling to Michigan in Super Regional play. Baylor had played host to an NCAA Regional site, downing Louisiana-Lafayette (twice) and Texas State as the Lady Bears swept through the opening weekend of NCAA play. Baylor tied for third in the Big 12 regular season standings with an 11-7 conference record and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament. 

Great Lakes: Michigan (47-12) 
Head Coach: Carol Hutchins 
Associate Head Coach: Bonnie Tholl 
Assistant Coach: Jennifer Brundage 
Volunteer Assistant: Becky Marx 

Michigan finished tied for fifth at the 2009 Women’s College World Series. The Wolverines swept through their postseason home games, defeating Miami (Ohio) and Notre Dame (twice) at regionals and downing Baylor twice at Super Regionals. The 2009 Big Ten champions with a 17-3 conference record, Michigan returned to the WCWS this year for the first time since capturing the 2005 NCAA Championship. 

Mid-Atlantic: Radford (41-15) 
Head Coach: Mickey Dean 
Assistant Coach: Katy Lampman 
Volunteer Assistant Coach: Ashley Taylor 

The 2009 Big South Conference regular season (16-2) and tournament champions, Radford advanced to the tough Chapel Hill, N.C., NCAA regional site where the Highlanders lost to eventual national semifinalist Georgia before defeating Campbell and falling to 15th-ranked North Carolina. That marked the first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, along with four student-athletes becoming the first Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region selections (first-team) in school history. Dean was named the 2009 Big South Coach of the Year and Virginia State Coach of the Year for 2009. 

Mideast: Bradley (26-28) 
Head Coach: Amy Hayes 
Assistant Coaches Renee Enos and Jennie Schollenberger 

Bradley more than doubled its win total from last season under first-year head coach Amy Hayes, winning the last five regular season contests en route to a 12-12 Missouri Valley Conference record and the sixth seed at the MVC Tournament. The Braves then took that sixth seed and swept through the tournament to defeat top seeded Creighton in the MVC title game and earn the conference automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Bradley traveled to Columbia, Mo., where the Braves upset DePaul in their opening game of the tournament before falling to eventual WCWS participant Missouri and being knocked out in a rematch with DePaul. 

Midwest (tie): North Dakota State (38-20) 
Head Coach Darren Mueller 
Associate Head Coach Jamie Trachsel 
Pitching Coach Darcy Byrne 
Graduate Assistant Destiny Frankenstein 

North Dakota State advanced to Super Regionals in the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance at the NCAA Division I level. The Bison finished second in the Summit League regular season standings with a 19-4 record but prevailed over top-seeded Western Illinois to capture the Summit League’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Led by Summit League Player of the Year Kelly Cantrell, the Bison swept through the Norman, Okla., regional, toppling the host Sooners in 11 innings in the opener before taking a pair of games from Tulsa to advance to Super Regionals. In Tempe, Ariz., North Dakota State fell to defending NCAA Champion Arizona State in two games. 

Midwest (tie): Missouri (50-12) 
Head Coach Ehren Earleywine 
Assitant Coaches Melissa Tucci and Mark Redburn 
Volunteer Assistant Pete D’Amour 

Missouri finished second in the Big 12 regular season standings with a 12-6 record but turned that second seed into a conference tournament championship, defeating Oklahoma 5-0 in the championship game. In the NCAA Tournament, the Tigers swept through the Columbia, Mo., regional with wins over Illinois, Bradley and DePaul to advance to UCLA for Super Regionals. Mizzou won the opening contest of the three-game series and dropped the second game before defeating the Bruins via run rule in the “if necessary” game to advance to the program’s fourth WCWS appearance but first since 1994. 

Northeast: UMass (41-10) 
Head Coach Elaine Sortino 
Assistant Coaches Jessica Merchant and Kristi Stefanoni 

UMass captured its 21st Atlantic 10 Championship in the 2009 season, its fifth-straight title and 14th in 15 years. The Minutewomen finished 16-2 in the A-10 regular season before taking the tournament title. As the host of the Amherst, Mass., regional, UMass defeated Cornell before falling to Washington on Saturday. The Minutewomen rebounded with an 8-0, five-inning perfect game victory over Sacred Heart tossed by senior All-American Brandice Balschmiter, then taking a 5-1 victory over the eventual NCAA Champions to force the “if necessary” game. That second championship game lasted 15 innings before the Minutewomen fell by a 6-1 margin. 

South: Alabama (54-11) 
Head Coach Patrick Murphy 
Associate Head Coach Alyson Habetz 
Assistant Coach Vann Stuedeman 

The Southeastern Conference Western Division Champions with a 21-6 record, Alabama advanced to the SEC Tournament championship game, where they fell to top-seeded Florida, 8-5. In the NCAA Tournament, the Crimson Tide won all five games played on campus in Tuscaloosa, sweeping through regionals with a win over Mississippi Valley State and a pair of wins over Texas. Two five-inning, 9-0 no-hit wins over Jacksonville State at super regionals advanced Alabama to the Women’s College World Series where the Tide advanced to the NCAA Semifinals where UA lost to Florida and completed its season with a national third-place finish. 

Southeast: Florida (63-5) 
Head Coach Tim Walton 
Assistant Coaches Jennifer Rocha and Jenny Gladding 
Student Assistant Mary Ratliff 

The Southeastern Conference Eastern Division Champions with a 26-1 record, the Gators topped Alabama in the championship game of the SEC Tournament to capture the conference automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Wins over Florida A&M, Texas A&M and Lehigh advanced the top-ranked Gators to super regionals, where UF posted a pair of victories over California to advance to the WCWS. Florida won its first three games in Oklahoma City to advance to its first championship series in program history where they dropped a pair of games to Washington, finishing as the NCAA runner-up. Florida lost just five games during the 2009 season, two during the non-conference regular season, one to Alabama during the SEC regular season and two at the WCWS. 

West: Stanford (48-11) 
Head Coach John Rittman 
Associate Head Coach Trisha Ford 
Assistant Coach Jessica Allister 
Student Assistant Michelle Smith 

The Cardinal finished 48-11 on the 2009 season for an .814 winning percentage, the best in school history and third-best in the nation. It marked the 11th 40-win season and 12th straight NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. Stanford won 28 consecutive games from Feb. 7-Mar 27 and matched its best Pac-10 record in school history (13-8), finishing fourth in the conference standings. The eighth seed in the NCAA Tournament, Stanford swept through the Palo Alto, Calif., regional with wins over Portland State, Nevada and Cal Poly to advance to super regionals. The following weekend, the three-game super regional series fell in Arizona’s favor, leaving the Cardinal tied for ninth nationally in the tournament standings.