Six current and former coaches will comprise the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame’s Class of 2008, the association announced in its closing business meeting Saturday morning at the NFCA National Convention in Las Vegas.
DePaul head coach Eugene Lenti, Mississippi State head coach Jay Miller, Muskingum College head coach Donna Newberry and Wayne State (Mich.) head coach Gary Bryce will join former Oklahoma State head coach Sandy Fischer and former Cal State Northridge head coach Gary Torgeson in being inducted during the association’s 25th anniversary convention on Marco Island, Fla.
An instructor for the NFCA’s National Fastpitch Coaches College, Lenti has accumulated over 900 victories and 15 postseason appearances in his 26 years as the DePaul head coach. Ranking as the school’s winningest head coach, Lenti ranks 12th among active coaches in victories and 16th all-time in NCAA history. Lenti has guided the Blue Demons to four Women’s College World Series berths while capturing nine conference titles. In addition to his NFCC duties, the 1999 NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year winner and five-time regional winner also served as the Division I group representative from 2001-2005.
Miller, a charter member of the association, has accumulated 885 victories during a 25-year coaching career that has included stops at Oklahoma City University, Missouri and Mississippi State. Miller has led Mississippi State to four NCAA regional appearances after an accomplished tenure at Missouri in which he guided the Tigers to a pair of Women’s College World Series showings and five regional berths to go along with two conference titles. An experienced coach in the USA Softball ranks, Miller kicked off his career by guiding OKC to two top-four NAIA national tournament finishes. A three-time regional and conference coach of the year, Miller has also produced a successful international coaching resume, including the head coach of the 19U squad that won the women’s world championship.
Newberry completed her 33rd season as a head coach in 2007, building a tenured career that has placed her atop the Division III coaching ranks with over 1,100 victories. The 10-time Ohio Athletic Conference Coach of the Year has lead the Muskies to 16 conference titles and NCAA regional berths. Muskingum has advanced to seven final eight appearances, including a national championship in 2001. A former NFCA Division III National Coach of the Year winner, Newberry has served as the group representative to the NFCA executive board and the chair of the rules and officials and Division III all-America committees.
In his first 26 seasons as head coach at Wayne State (Mich.), Bryce has guided the Warriors to 850 victories, the seventh-most among active Division II coaches, and 20 national rankings. Last season, Bryce captained WSU to a 13th NCAA tournament appearance after claiming the program’s 14th Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship. Those accomplishments earned him a second straight GLIAC Coach of the Year award to go along with seven previous honors. In addition to service with the GLIAC and NCAA, Bryce has served four terms as the NFCA Division II representative and six on the Division II all-America committee. He has also sat on the association’s rules and officials and hall of fame committees.
Fischer and Torgeson join these current head coaches following stellar coaching careers at the Division I and Division II levels, respectively.
Fischer notched 900 victories in her 23 seasons as the head coach at Oklahoma State. Under her guidance, OSU advanced to the Women’s College World Series six times, including four top-three finishes, while wining eight regional championships and nine Big 8 titles. Fischer earned the 1988 NSCA (now NFCA) national coach of the year award after winning the first of her four regional accolades, and she was named Big 8 coach of the year an additional four times after coaching two Olympians, 12 all-Americans, 60 all-conference players and 49 all-academic standouts. A charter member of the association, Fischer served the association in numerous capacities during her career.
Torgeson’s Cal State Northridge squads captured an impressive four Division II national championships in a four-year span from 1983-1987, and runner-up finishes in 1986 and 1990. After moving to Division I, he led Northridge to a fourth-place finish at the Women’s College World Series in 1993 and a runner-up showing to Arizona in 1994. Torgeson, who will be inducted in the pioneer category after compiling a 646-216-8 record in 13 seasons, earned Division II national coach of the year honors four times. Just a few years ago, voters selected him the NCAA’s Division II coach of the first 25 years. Currently the Dean of Physical Education and the athletic director at Sacramento City College, Torgeson served on the association’s board of directors in addition to a stint as the all-American committee’s west region representative.