Wisconsin-Eau Claire has been named the NFCA Division III National Coaching Staff of the Year, the association announced Thursday.
Head coach Leslie Huntington, along with assistants Robin Baker and Billie Buss, led the Blugolds to their first national title and a 36-11 finish.
After falling in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) semifinals and receiving an at-large regional bid, Eau Claire won eight straight to capture just the second overall NCAA championship in any sport for the school. In the national championship game, Huntington and her staff led the Blugolds to a victory over WIAC rival Wisconsin-Whitewater with a ninth inning walkoff home run.
In her seventh season with the Blugolds, Huntington led her squad to its third straight regional appearance and second straight national championship tournament appearance. She also surpassed 200 career victories during the regional tournament, hosted by Eau Claire.
The NFCA Division III Regional Coaching Staffs of the Year include:
Louisiana College (44-7)
Head Coach: Tim Whitman / Assistant Coaches: Aleshia Perry-Davis, Rawlen Scully, Leanne Shanks, Emilie Collinsâ€¨
Finished third at NCAA championship • American Southwest Conference East champions • American Southwest Conference overall championsâ€¨â€¨
Muskingum College (41-12)
Head Coach: Donna Newberry / Assistant Coaches: Natalie Layden, John Rittsâ€¨
Finished fifth at NCAA championship • eighth appearance at national championship tournament • 11th straight Ohio Athletic Conference titleâ€¨â€¨
Montclair State University (43-6)
Head Coach: Anita Kubicka / Assistant Coaches: Kim Broking, Ryan Doty
Finished fifth at Plattsburgh regional • 18th regional appearance • first New Jersey Athletic Conference championship since 1997â€¨â€¨
Great Lakes Region
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (39-11)
Head Coach: Brenda Volk / Assistant Coaches: Beth Bonuso, Steve Evans, Erin Weber
Finished second at NCAA championship • second highest victory total in school history • WIAC championsâ€¨â€¨
Wartburg College (32-8)
Head Coach: Kara Kehe / Assistant Coaches: Heather Zajicek, La Toshia Burrell
Finished third at Rock Island regional • sixth straight season with 30+ wins • third consecutive Iowa Conference tournament championshipâ€¨â€¨
New England Region
Rhode Island College (36-9)
Head Coach: Maria Morin / Assistant Coaches: Ken Stanley, Kristen Norberg
Finished seventh at NCAA championship • second consecutive New England regional title • fourth consecutive Little East Conference championship (shared)â€¨â€¨
Cortland State University (39-13)
Head Coach: Julie Lenhart / Assistant Coaches: Tara Schanbacher, Brad Posner, Mallory LeSieur, Katie Fuscoâ€¨
Finished fifth at NCAA championship • matched best finish in school history • seventh straight 30+ win seasonâ€¨â€¨
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (35-11)
Head Coach: Kasey Blomquist / Assistant Coach: Denise Liraâ€¨
First regional appearance in school history • finished second to Louisiana College in Tyler regional • American Southwest Conference West champions