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Wisconsin-Eau Claire Named Division III Coaching Staff of the Year

 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: 

Atlantic Region 
Louisiana College (44-7) 
Head Coach: Tim Whitman / Assistant Coaches: Aleshia Perry-Davis, Rawlen Scully, Leanne Shanks, Emilie Collins
 
Finished third at NCAA championship • American Southwest Conference East champions • American Southwest Conference overall champions

 

Central Region 
Muskingum College (41-12) 
Head Coach: Donna Newberry / Assistant Coaches: Natalie Layden, John Ritts
 
Finished fifth at NCAA championship • eighth appearance at national championship tournament • 11th straight Ohio Athletic Conference title

 

East Region 
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 1997

 

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 champions

 

Midwest Region 
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 championship

 

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)

 

Northeast Region 
Cortland State University (39-13) 
Head Coach: Julie Lenhart / Assistant Coaches: Tara Schanbacher, Brad Posner, Mallory LeSieur, Katie Fusco
 
Finished fifth at NCAA championship • matched best finish in school history • seventh straight 30+ win season

 

West Region 
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (35-11) 
Head Coach: Kasey Blomquist / Assistant Coach: Denise Lira
 
First regional appearance in school history • finished second to Louisiana College in Tyler regional • American Southwest Conference West champions