Head Coach Gayle Blevins is now retired after 31 seasons as a Division I head coach, including the last 23 at the University of Iowa. Blevins is presently the second winningest coach in Division I history with a record of 1,245-588-5.
As a head coach, Blevins led her teams to seven Women's College World Series appearances (four at Iowa), won eight Big Ten titles (five at Iowa), been named both the Big Ten and National Coach of the Year and has been inducted into both the Indiana University and NFCA Halls of Fame. Blevins entered the 2010 season as the Big Ten's winningest coach with 506 conference wins.
Blevins never had a losing season in her 31-year career. During her time in Iowa City, Blevins guided Iowa to 40 or more wins 13 times, including three seasons with 50-plus victories. Under her direction, the Hawkeyes finished in the top three in the Big Ten every year but five from 1989-2010 and her Iowa teams never finished lower than fifth in the conference.
Cindy Bristow’s Softball Excellence is an online source for all things softball, including professional level instruction that comes from her wealth of experience.
Bristow pitched collegiately for Cal Poly Pomona and played professionally for the Santa Ana Lionettes. She served as the head softball coach at New Mexico State, Wichita State and the Georgia Pride/Florida Wahoos of the Women’s Professional Softball League where she was awarded coaching staff of the year honors.
During her stint at the Amateur Softball Association, Bristow was National Director of Junior Olympic Softball and later, Director of National Teams and Coaching Development for USA Softball. She later moved to Director of Development for the International Softball Federation, which is the world governing body for softball, including the Olympics.
Bristow is an editor of numerous softball books, a producer of instructional tapes, a featured speaker, clinician and color analyst for ESPN college softball. She was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2001.
Bruggeman is in her ninth season as Associate Head Coach of the Louisville Cardinals. During that time, U of L has earned eight consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, won three Big East Championships and earned numerous Top 25 rankings, reaching as high as No. 7 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Additionally, during her time at Louisville, the Cardinals have set multiple school records for most wins including a staggering 55 in 2012.
Bruggeman achieved her 600th career win on March 20, 2011, when the Cards defeated Ohio State, 9-1.
She and her coaching staff were named Big East Conference and NFCA Great Lakes Region Coaching Staff of the Year in 2012. In addition to various other duties, Bruggeman's primary responsibilities include recruiting and working with the defense. The Cardinals finished the 2012 season with a program-best fielding percentage of .975, which ranked 14th nationally.
Bruggeman's previous coaching stops included Purdue University (head coach), the University of Michigan (assistant coach) and the University of Iowa (graduate assistant). She earned numerous accolades as a student-athlete at the University of Iowa and was inducted into the Iowa Softball Association Hall of Fame.
In 2006, she was elected president of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. From 1996-2000, Bruggeman was also on the NFCA Board of Directors as the Division I Representative. She finished a two-year term as NFCA Past President in 2012.
In conjunction with her coaching duties, Bruggeman is very involved with various professional opportunities including speaking at national softball clinics, authoring chapters in books, TV broadcasts and producing softball videos.
Brian Kolze, the winningest coach in Pacific softball program history, just finished his 22nd season at the helm of the program and the first for the Tigers as a member of the West Coast Conference.
Kolze left the Big West as just the second coach to reach 600 career wins and enters 2015 with a career record of 662-560-1. Kolze picked up his 600th triumph in 2012 when the Tigers defeated Cal State Bakersfield, 10-0 (5 inn.). He posted over 200 wins in Big West play, having tallied an all-time conference record of 260-244-1 (.514). He was in the dugout for the program's 1,000th victory as Pacific hit the millenium mark on April 22, 2011 with a 7-3 win over UC Riverside.
The 2011 Big West Coach of the Year, Kolze guided the Tigers to their first-ever Big West championship in 2011 after going 16-5 in conference play while posting a 37-19 overall record. With the conference championship, the Tigers picked up their 12th bid to the NCAA tournament and eighth under Kolze.
Kolze also brought international coaching experience to the Tigers in 2005 after spending the summer as an assistant coach for the US National Elite team that won a silver medal at the Canada Cup and brought home the gold at the Intercontinental Cup in Spain in July of 2005.
Kolze is a nationally known clinician, having sat on the legislative committee for the NFCA from 1993-95. He served as chair of the NFCA All-America Committee from 1996-99 and was a member of the NCAA Softball Rules Committee from 1996-99. In 2004-05, Kolze sat as a member of the NCAA Softball Championship Committee.
A 1984 graduate of Cal State Northridge with a journalism degree and a minor in political science, Kolze is regarded as one of the finest recruiters in the country. He has recruited and coached All-Americans at UNLV, Sacramento State and Pacific.
Kolze prepped at nearby Tokay High School in Lodi, Calif. Also a Tiger at Tokay, he played baseball and soccer prior to attending San Joaquin Delta College and Cal State Northridge, where he played baseball. He was a player/coach for Stockton's Robertson Homes Class "B" men's fastpitch softball team that finished third at the 1989 national tournament.
Having just completed her seventh year in charge of the Kentucky softball program, Lawson has taken the ‘Cats from just 17 victories during her initial campaign in 2008 to the lofty heights of a 2014 season that witnessed UK’s first 50-win effort and initial WCWS berth. Already the winningest head coach in UK history, she has registered 244 triumphs, guided the Blue & White to three NCAA Super Regionals over the past four years as well as berths in the past six NCAA tournaments and already owns more SEC wins than the ‘Cats had combined prior to her arrival at the helm.
Lawson became just the third head coach in the history of the Kentucky softball program after spending three seasons at Western Kentucky. She also served as an assistant coach at Maryland from 1996-2002 and was the associate head coach of the Philadelphia Force professional team in 2006.
She was a two-time all-conference player at Massachusetts, where she was part of a program that advanced to the 1992 Women's College World Series. During her four-year career at UMass, Lawson helped the Minutewomen post a combined record of 142-68 (67.6 percent) including a 39-3 (92.9 percent) Atlantic 10 mark. In addition to the 1992 WCWS appearance, she was a part of squads that also advanced to the NCAA Tournament her freshman season, won three A-10 Tournament titles and claimed the league regular-season championship four straight years.
A 1994 graduate of Massachusetts with a degree in exercise science, Lawson also earned her master's degree in sports management from UMass in 1998.
On July 14, 2008, Matt Meuchel became the fourth head coach in the history of the University of Nevada softball program and the second since the program was reinstated in 2003.
With its hire, the Wolf Pack gained a young, energetic coach with a penchant for hard work, solid recruiting and building a family-style program. And Nevada knew exactly what it was getting because Meuchel had been an integral part of the building of the softball program in Reno after the sport was reinstated.
Meuchel's 2014 Wolf Pack squad posted a winning record, by finishing the year at 27-25 and going 18-10 in non-conference action. Meuchel coached senior Karlyn Jones and sophomore Megan Sweet to All-Mountain West second team honors in the program's second year in the conference. Nevada finished the season in a tie for first in the league in doubles, with Sweet setting a new program single-season doubles record (21). On March 28 at home against conference foe New Mexico, junior pitcher Megan Dortch tossed the program's sixth no-hitter, and the fourth under Meuchel.
In 2013, the Pack program returned to its winning ways under Meuchel. The team won 30 games for the first time since 2009 and threatened almost every offensive record in the book, breaking three of them. Nevada set new records in doubles 102, leading the country with 1.96 per game, slugging percentage at .477 and on-base percentage at .399.
In his first season in 2009, Meuchel took a program that he had helped shape and he put his own stamp on it. The Wolf Pack set a number of hitting and pitching records as Meuchel delivered the program's second-straight Western Athletic Conference championship as Nevada tied for the crown with Fresno State. Nevada also advanced to the NCAA Regional in Palo Alto, Calif., where Meuchel captured his first-ever and the program's third NCAA victory with a win over Cal Poly in the first round of the Regional.
Meuchel brought a decade of college coaching experience to Reno as he has worked as a student assistant coach, volunteer assistant coach, assistant coach, associate head coach and recruiting coordinator during his career. His coaching career has taken him from the Southwest (Arizona State) to the South (McNeese State) back to the West (Nevada) to the Midwest (Oklahoma State) back home to the West again.
And in that time, Meuchel has earned a reputation as a hard-nosed recruiter with a keen eye for talent and a hard-working coach with a vast knowledge of the game.
In today's world of collegiate athletics, few can claim to have been at a program since the beginning. Not many can say they were there at the origin of a program, having been present from the very inception to where it stands today. And certainly nobody can claim to have brought a program further, and in shorter time, than Crimson Tide head softball coach Patrick Murphy, entering his 16th season as the program's leader in 2014.
From a humble start to a national championship, Murphy has taken Alabama to the top of the college softball world. Beginning with his days as an assistant in the very first years of the Alabama softball program, Murphy has emerged as the face of a team that has grown under his leadership to become one of the most consistently successful programs in the nation.
The accomplishments are there for everyone to see. A 2012 National Championship, eight Women's College World Series berths, four SEC titles and 15 straight NCAA Tournament bids are only a few of the team honors that Murphy has brought to Tuscaloosa during his tenure.
The individual honors are equally as impressive. Tide players have earned All-America honors 89 times under Murphy's watch. He has tutored 81 All-SEC performers and 73 NFCA All-Region honorees. His teams have been just as successful in the classroom, with 14 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and 157 SEC All-Academic selections.
Even more impressively, Murphy has led the program to a surge of popularity among Tide fans. Alabama has become a regular atop the nation's attendance standings, with an ever-growing group of loyal fans who fill the stands at Rhoads Stadium throughout the season. Murphy has turned his program into an absolute model of consistency, having guided Alabama to its first national title, 15 consecutive NCAA tournaments, and appearances in eight Women's College World Series (2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012).
The winningest softball coach in University of Nebraska history, Rhonda Revelle was the first Big 12 coach inducted into the NFCA Hall of Famer in 2010. Revelle is 799-423 in 21 seasons with the Huskers, including 35-win campaigns in 13 of the past 16 seasons.
In 2013, Revelle and her staff put together one of the finest coaching performances in school history. Leading a group that featured seven freshmen among its 16 players - and only one pitcher with collegiate experience - Revelle helped Nebraska go from unranked and receiving no votes in the preseason polls to a No. 8 final ranking, the first trip to an NCAA Super Regional in school history and the program's seventh all-time Women's College World Series appearance. Nebraska finished 45-16 in 2013, tying for the fifth-most victories in school history while finishing second in the Big Ten Conference.
In the 2005 season, the Huskers defeated seven ranked teams, including three victories over top-10 teams, earning Revelle her 500th career win before hosting their third consecutive NCAA regional tournament.
In 2006, Revelle expanded her role for the Huskers athletic department, assuming duties as both associate athletic director and senior woman administrator. That year, Nebraska finished 44-12, posting the third-best winning percentage in school history. She served as senior woman administrator for two seasons, before returning to a coaching-only role in 2008.
In 2002, Nebraska went 50-14 and claimed the schoolâ€™s seventh berth into the Womenâ€™s College World Series. The Huskers were ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation, winning a school-record 23 consecutive games during the season.
Revelle led NU to a 153-50 record from 2000 to 2002, the most successful three-year period in program history.
Revelle was a member of Nebraska's first Womens College World Series team and first Big Eight Championship squad in 1982. She ranks among the Huskers' career top 10 in saves and ERA. During the spring of 1997, Revelle was honored for her efforts in coaching, playing and promoting softball in Nebraska by being inducted into the Nebraska Softball Hall of Fame.
When it comes to baseball, Don Slaught considers himself to be a passionate student of the game. This has been true from his Little League days, through his high school and college years, and throughout his 16 years in the Major Leagues. He attributes his longevity to his commitment to learning and improving. The evidence proves this out. In his first eight years in the Big Leagues, Slaught hit .269 compared to his last eight years where he averaged over .300; and in is final five full seasons, he had a .310 average. Slaught said he didn’t get any stronger or faster but he did get smarter. He said it was the elimination of some poor information and the understanding of some good information on both mechanics and his approach that allowed him to improve late into his thirties.
It was this renovation that led him into coaching and the eventual development of RightView Pro. What took him years to understand can now be seen and understood very easily at even the earliest levels of baseball. Since retiring in 1997, Slaught has spent most of his time coaching at just about every level from Little Leaguers to Major Leaguers. He was the Big League Hitting Coach for the 2006 American League Champion Detroit Tigers. Slaught is quick to point out that the success of a coach is not based on knowing how to hit but rather on knowing how to get others to hit. They are two different skills. The goal of RVP was to speed up the learning curve by developing a system to allow coaches and players to see, understand, and communicate more effectively.
With ten seasons now in the books, University of Washington head coach Heather Tarr has led the Huskies to unprecedented heights. In 2009, the Huskies won their first-ever national championship in softball. During 2010 and 2013, UW won 50 and 45 games, respectively, while advancing to the Women's College World Series. Tarr is now 364-164-1 with her alma mater.
Before taking over the Washington program, Tarr had a six-year stint at Pacific, starting as an assistant coach before being promoted to associate head coach in April of 2004.
During her six seasons at Pacific, the Tigers posted a 232-124 (.652) overall record and 90-44 (.672) mark in the Big West Conference.
In 2004, Tarr guided the Tigers to a top-20 national batting average. In 2001, she and Pacific head coach Brian Kolze were named the 2001 NFCA West Region Coaching Staff of the Year after guiding the Tigers to within one win of the Women's College World Series and a No. 18 final national ranking. That team also finished the season with a .973 fielding percentage, ranking second-best in the country.
Tarr joined Pacific prior to the 1999 season after an outstanding career as a Husky. As a four-year letter winner, Tarr helped lead UW to a second-place finish at the Women's College World Series in 1996 and a third-place finish in 1997.
Torina heads into her fourth season at the helm of the LSU softball program with an overall coaching mark of 211-152 in six years as a head coach.
During the 2013 campaign, her squad won 40 or more games for the second straight year under her guidance and hosted the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.
In her inaugural campaign at LSU, she helped lead the Tigers back to national prominence by earning a 2012 Women's College World Series berth. The trip marked the program's third overall appearance on college softball's biggest stage and first since 2004. Along the way the Tigers became the third team since the current regional/super regional format that was adopted in 2005 to knock off two seeded teams in No. 8 Texas A&M and No. 9 Missouri on the road en route to Oklahoma City.
Torina has also served in the past as the head coach of the USSSA Florida Pride of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) League. Prior to assuming head coaching duties, she served as an assistant coach for two seasons under Florida head coach Tim Walton, including winning the 2010 NPF championship.
Before joining the LSU program in June 2011, Torina took Florida International of the Sun Belt Conference to new heights. The two-time SBC Coach of the Year led the Golden Panthers to a 129-111 record in four seasons and directed FIU to its first NCAA Tournament victory in 2010. She also spent five seasons as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Houston from 2003-07. The Cougars claimed the 2007 Conference USA regular season and tournament titles. Torina began her coaching career as an assistant coach at Stetson University from 2000-02, leaving her mark on the Hatters' softball program after helping lead the 2001 squad to a share of the regular season Atlantic Sun Conference championship.
During her own playing career at Florida, she was a member of the 1998 Southeastern Conference regular season championship team as the squad's top pitcher.
John Tschida is the only NCAA coach to lead two different institutions to NCAA softball titles. It took just two years to get the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) to the national championships and just four years to lead the Tommies to two consecutive Division III national titles in 2004 and 2005. He guided his alma mater, Saint Mary's, to the 2000 NCAA Division III championship in just his fifth year of coaching.
Tschida and his staff have earned NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year honors twice. In his 20-year college career, Tschida has become the winningest Division III softball coach, active or retired, with a 734-128 record (.850 winning percentage). Every team ever coached by Tschida has been nationally ranked.
He guided the 2006 Tommies to a second place finish in the NCAA Division III National Championships and finished 48-4. The 48 wins tied a Division III record, and the team's 72 home runs in 52 games shattered the old D-III season record.
As a player, Tschida has been a two-time NAFA All-World player, five-time ASA Class "A" All-American, 2006 ASA Men's Open All-American and an ISC All-World Team player. He has competed in 17 ISC World Tournaments, 18 ASA National Tournaments and eight NAFA World Series. In 1998, Tschida was the leadoff hitter for the 1998 ASA Class "A" National Champion DMS Knights and won the NAFA World Series Open title in 2005. The teams he has played on are typically ranked in the top ten in the ISC World Rankings.
Walker, who was the head softball coach at Oregon State for 18 seasons, returned to his alma mater on Aug. 7, 2012, to begin his second stint on the UCLA softball coaching staff after previously serving as a member of the Bruin staff from 1984-94.
He returned to UCLA after spending nearly two decades at Oregon State. The all-time winningest coach in program history and the fifth-winningest in Oregon State history regardless of sport, Walker posted a 594-490-3 record (.548 winning percentage) and eight seasons with at least 40 wins. The Beavers made the postseason 10 times with Walker at the helm, including the 2012 campaign, which saw Oregon State post a 36-23 mark and set team records for runs batted in (269) and runs scored (301).
In 2006, Walker led the Beavers to their first-ever appearance in the Women's College World Series, as OSU posted a school-record, 28-game winning streak and reached No. 5 in the national rankings with a 43-16 overall mark. In 2005, he guided Oregon State (43-16) to its first-ever Pac-10 Championship (and the first regular-season Pac-10 title for any OSU women's sports program), earning Conference Coach of the Year honors for the second time (1999).
He has also earned coaching acclaim away from the collegiate level. He was named one of 12 coaches to form the USA Softball National Team Coaches Pool through the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Walker served as an assistant for the USA Elite Team for three summers (2002-04), and also assisted the USA Red National Team during the summer of 2001.
Walker spent 11 years at UCLA from 1984-94. The Bruins won National Championships six times with him on the staff (`84, `85, `88, `89, `90 and `92).
After leading Oregon to many of its biggest wins in recent memory, sixth-year head coach Mike White has unquestionably re-established the Ducks as one of the nation’s top softball programs. His .723 winning percentage (173-66) over his first four years is the best all-time among Oregon head coaches.
In 2013, the Pac-12 Coach of the Year led Oregon to its first-ever Pac-12 title, its second-highest overall win total (50), and its best rankings in both coaches polls (No. 3) in the regular season’s final edition, advancing to its fourth straight Super Regional appearance (and overall).
During 2012, Oregon made its second-ever Women's College World Series trip, racking up its then-second-most wins (45) and ending the season rated fifth nationally in both polls.
In the summer of 2012, the former ISC Hall of Fame pitcher was tapped to lend his international expertise to the U.S. National Team coaching staff as an assistant coach. Team USA was 9-1 in the ISF Women's World Championship en route to a silver medal.
Before his current Duck tenure, White was already well-known in softball circles as an International Softball Congress (ISC) Hall of Fame pitcher and 30-year coaching veteran. After a previous stint as an assistant at UO, he served as an assistant coach for one of the nation’s top programs at Marist High School during the 2008-09 seasons. The program ended 2009 rated 22nd nationally by USA Today and won consecutive 4A state titles after identical 29-1 seasons.
As a player, White starred as a top pitcher on U.S. National Teams before he retired in 2007. A New Zealand native, he became a U.S. citizen in 1994 and helped guide the USA to a bronze medal in the 2000 World Championships when he went 2-0 with a 0.89 ERA and 19 strikeouts.
In 27 seasons as head coach of the Fresno State softball program, Margie Wright directed the Bulldogs to a national title (1998) while guiding the program to the NCAA Women's College World Series 10 times out of the program's 12 appearances. As the first NCAA Division I softball coach and 24th overall in NCAA Division I history, regardless of sport, to amass 1,000 Division I career victories and the first to tally 1,400 fastpitch wins, she recorded an impressive 27-year school mark of 1,294-450-1 (.742) and a 33-year career record of 1,457-542-3 (.728).
Including her six-year stint at Illinois State, Wright posted an astonishing 33-year career record of 1,457-542-3 (.728) during her illustrious career. As the NCAA's all-time winningest softball coach, she also directed the Bulldog softball program to 17 conference titles and 10 regional championship crowns while coaching 53 All-Americans, 16 Academic All-Americans, 15 Olympians and two NCAA Top VIII Award winners. In addition, Wright made Fresno State just one of five NCAA Division I schools to make 10 or more trips to the WCWS.
On the international stage, Wright helped the U.S Women's National Team capture gold. She was an assistant coach on the 1996 Olympic team that won gold in the sports inaugural Olympic debut prior to serving as head coach for the 1998 squad that captured an unprecedented fourth gold medal at the ISF World Championship.
Inducted into seven halls of fame, Wright was inducted to the NFCA Hall of Fame in 2000 and was inducted into the Women's Sports Foundation International Hall of Fame in 2005.