With 400 home wins entering 2016, Irish softball prepares to continue a tradition of excellence on campus
A five-pitcher rotation looks to lead Notre Dame softball to a strong 2016 season
A wealth of experience and success defines longest tenured female coaching staff currently at Notre Dame
Five prep players sign National Letters of Intent to join Notre Dame for the 2017 softball season
Register now for Notre Dame softball hitting and pitching academies
Debuted each year at the OSCARS - the year-end highlight video provides a look back at all 26 varsity sports competed at the University of Notre Dame and is created in cooperation with the Student Welfare and Development Office and LeSea Broadcasting.
Notre Dame softball vs. Ohio State (photos by Jason Roberts)
Notre Dame vs. Fordham, game one of the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic (photos by Jason Roberts)
Irish defeated #23/25 Louisville 6-3 and Jacksonville 9-1 in five innings (photos by Skip Tapp).
The Irish made their 15th straight appearance at the NCAA Championship in 2013.
Images of the Irish during the run to another NCAA tournament.
HONORS AND AWARDS:
2014 NFCA Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year
2014 NFCA Donna Newberry Perseverance Award
2014 Alliance of Women's Coaches Bigger Picture Award
2013 BIG EAST Conference Coaching Staff of the Year
2011 BIG EAST Conference Coaching Staff of the Year
2011 Notre Dame Monogram Club Honorary Monogram Recipient
2004 NFCA Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year
2004 BIG EAST Conference Coaching Staff of the Year
2002 NFCA Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year
2002 BIG EAST Conference Coaching Staff of the Year
14 seasons overall at Notre Dame: 591-235-1 (.715)
Entering her 15th season as leader of the Notre Dame softball program, Deanna Gumpf continues to ascend the ladder as one of the nation's premier head coaches.
Under Gumpf's guidance the Irish have made 14 consecutive trips to NCAA Regionals, claiming four conference tournament titles during that span. Even more, Notre Dame staked the BIG EAST Conference's regular-season championship during her first four seasons on the bench to extend its dominance over league opponents. The Irish hoisted the regular-season hardware again in 2010, 2011 and the program's final year as a conference member in 2013 before transitioning to the Atlantic Coast Conference prior to the 2014 campaign.
The Notre Dame coaching staff has received seven prominent honors during Gumpf's tenure, being tabbed as the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year in 2002 and 2004, the NFCA Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year in 2014 and the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year in 2002, 2004, 2011 and 2013.
Gumpf has a career record of 591-235-1 (.715) in her 14 seasons at Notre Dame, placing her among the elite skippers in the NCAA. Gumpf is the second winningest female coach in the history of Notre Dame athletics, and became the all-time winningest Irish softball/baseball coach after surpassing longtime baseball mentor Jake Kline (1934-75) with her 559th career win against Missouri on Feb. 27, 2015. Gumpf also ranks in the top 20 all-time in winning percentage among all active NCAA Division I softball coaches with a career clip over .700.
Gumpf became the program's all-time winningest coach with her 378th victory at Notre Dame when the Irish posted a 1-0 victory over Illinois State in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Win No. 400 came in the form of a 9-0 five-inning win over Providence in April of 2011. Gumpf's milestone win came behind a combined shutout from the circle by pitchers Laura Winter and Jody Valdivia.
The 2013 campaign saw a pair of victory plateaus reached, as Notre Dame earned the 1,000th win in program history with an 8-2 decision at Georgetown (April 3). Later in the season, Gumpf joined Jake Kline and Paul Mainieri as the only softball/baseball coaches to win 500 games at Notre Dame following an 11-1 victory over Connecticut April 23. The Irish offense erupted for eight runs on six hits during the bottom of the fourth inning against the Huskies to put the game out of reach and secure win number 500.
During Gumpf's tenure, 14 different Notre Dame players have earned NFCA All-America honors, with Andrea Loman (2002-03), Megan Ciolli (2004-05) and Emilee Koerner (2013-15) being recognized as multi-time All-Americans. Koerner, the 2015 ACC Player of the Year, became the first player in program history to earn three All-America citations by being named to that season’s NFCA All-America third team. The Irish have also produced 57 NFCA all-region performers, six conference players of the year, four conference pitchers of the year, two conference freshman of the year selections, 92 all-conference recipients and one NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year finalist since 2002.
In addition to its triumphs on the field, the Notre Dame softball program has made its mark in the greater South Bend community through various philanthropic endeavors. The Irish have received the Notre Dame Trophy Award, presented to a varsity athletics team exhibiting excellence in community service, three of the last four years, thanks primarily to the success of the program's Strikeout Cancer initiative. Established in 2011 in support of the Gumpf family after daughter Tatum was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the summer of 2010,
Notre Dame's Strikeout Cancer leukemia awareness campaign has raised more than $135,000 in its first five years of existence. All proceeds directly benefit South Bend's Memorial Children's Hospital and children throughout the state of Indiana who have been diagnosed with cancer. Tatum has been in remission since the fall of 2012, on the road to making a full recovery.
Notre Dame made its 17th consecutive appearance (20th all-time) in the NCAA Championship in 2015, hosting an NCAA Regional for just the second time in program history (2005). The Irish capped the season with a 42-15 (.737) mark, establishing single-season program records for hits (543), runs (395) and on-base percentage (.419), batting above a .350 clip (.351) for the second straight season.
Notre Dame also earned eight victories over fellow national top 25 foes, and enjoyed a 24-game winning streak from March through the end of April that was the second-longest in the nation during the year. The Irish tied their 2014 team total of seven NFCA Mid-Atlantic all-region honorees with Emilee Koerner, Katey Haus, Micaela Arizmendi and Karley Wester representing the first team, Cassidy Whidden on the second team and Jenna Simon and Morgan Reed on the third team.
Pitchers Allie Rhodes and Rachel Nasland each enjoyed breakout seasons under Gumpf’s tutelage in 2015. Rhodes became the 23rd 20-game winner in Notre Dame history by logging a dominant 20-5 mark in the circle as a junior, winning 15 of her final 16 decisions. Nasland compiled a 17-9 record as a sophomore, throwing her first career no-hitter against No. 9 Florida State (March 15) on her way to earning 2015 all-ACC second team accolades.
The Irish finished 41-13 (.759) and placed second in the ACC regular-season standings with a 16-5 league mark in their inaugural campaign in the conference in 2014, ultimately reaching the final game of the ACC Championship tournament in College Park, Maryland. Team records set by the 2014 Notre Dame team included the highest batting average (.357) and most doubles (107, 1.98 doubles per game) in a single season in program history, figures that also led all Division I teams in the NCAA.
The Irish, who added 533 hits and a .419 on-base percentage, also finished second nationally with a .552 slugging percentage and were seventh in scoring after tallying 6.69 runs per game. Notre Dame was ranked among the national top 25 teams over the final 14 weeks of 2014, tying a program record set by the 2001 Irish team (54-7) for consecutive weeks appearing in the national polls during a single season.
A total of three Notre Dame players received 2014 NFCA All-America citations, with Micaela Arizmendi and Karley Wester copping second team accolades and Emilee Koerner being named as a third team All-American. The three Notre Dame All-America selections were tied for the most among all NFCA Division I members with College World Series participant Oregon, NCAA Super Regional qualifier Washington and fellow NCAA Regional competitor Auburn.
Wester, who led the conference in batting average (.455), hits (81) and stolen bases (26) on her way to being named the ACC Freshman of the Year, was also one of three finalists for the inaugural NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award. Wester, along with fellow first team choices Arizmendi, Koerner, Laura Winter and Cassidy Whidden, joined Katey Haus and Jenna Simon (second team) in representing a program record seven Notre Dame players who received NFCA all-region honors in 2014.
The 2013 version of the Fighting Irish posted a 43-15 (.741) record, surpassing the 40-win plateau for the ninth time during Gumpf's tenure, winning the 13th BIG EAST Conference regular-season championship in program history and ultimately reaching the final game of the BIG EAST Championship at the USF Softball Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The team was selected as an at-large NCAA Championship participant, ensuring the program's 15th straight NCAA Regional appearance.
Emilee Koerner made program history in 2013 by finishing as one of the 10 finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, becoming the then 22nd Notre Dame NFCA All-America (second team) selection in the process. Laura Winter completed a dominant junior campaign as the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year, becoming the first Irish player to win both the league's player and pitcher of the year honors during her career.
A historic start to the season gave light to great things to come for Gumpf's 2011 squad. Notre Dame began the season with a 9-0 record - the best opening to a campaign in program history - and went on to win 46 games, the sixth-highest total in 23 seasons. The Irish went on to win the BIG EAST regular season title for the second straight time - and 13th overall - since joining the league in 1996. Notre Dame's 19 league wins matched the second-highest total in program history.
In 2011, six Irish players were named to the NFCA all-Great Lakes Region squad in 2011, which marked the most players ever by Notre Dame. First team honors went to Dani Miller, Sadie Pitzenberger, Alexia Clay and Alexa Maldonado. Heather Johnson and Laura Winter were part of the second team.
Johnson and Miller would go on to earn third-team All-America accolades from the NFCA. Holding court at the BIG EAST softball banquet, Notre Dame racked up the hardware with eight players earning all-league honors. Gumpf and her assistants were tabbed the 2011 Coaching Staff of the Year and Johnson became Notre Dame's seventh BIG EAST Player of the Year.
Johnson, the program's career and single-season RBI leader, led the nation with 245 consecutive career starts. The fifth-year senior was also the first player in BIG EAST history to be named Player of the Week on three consecutive occasions and tied for second on the program's chart with a 21-game hitting streak.
Gumpf tutored Winter during her first year in the circle to post the program's second-highest single-season win total with 25 victories. Winter garnered national attention after a near-perfect no-hitter at USF in which she walked and beaned the first two batters while retiring the rest of the Bulls for the remainder of the game.
The Irish strutted their stuff throughout the 20-game BIG EAST slate by finishing among the top in the following team categories: batting average (.385), slugging pct. (.636), on-base pct. (.459), runs scored (162), hits (204), RBI (145), doubles (39), total bases (.337), sacrifice bunts (20) and stolen bases (37).
Gumpf also authored one of the most dominating seasons in school history while directing her 2010 Irish outfit to a number of accolades. Notre Dame finished 2010 with a 47-12 mark and set single-season program records with a nation-leading batting average (.343), runs (369), doubles (103), home runs (75), RBI (337), total bases (878), slugging pct. (.590), on-base pct. (.409) and fielding pct. (.978). The Irish were second among NCAA teams with 1.75 doubles/game and fourth in slugging pct.
In regular season BIG EAST play, the Irish ranked first in slugging percentage (.635), runs scored (150), RBI (134), doubles (46), home runs (31) and total bases (330).
Not only did Gumpf aid in the development of All-American Katie Fleury and BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year Jody Valdivia, but she also oversaw the final season of one of the program's most dominant and adorned players in Christine Lux. Lux finished her four years as the program's career leader in home runs (50), RBI (174), slugging pct. (.654) and putouts (1,544) and set or tied single-season records during her final campaign with 17 home runs (28th nationally), 17 doubles and an .801 slugging pct. (20th nationally). Lux also became the only player in BIG EAST history to record 60+ runs, 80+ hits and 60+ RBI in a career while making a splash in the BIG EAST record book for career RBI (1st - 66), home runs (t-1st - 24), runs scored (3rd - 61), walks (t-7th - 33) and doubles (t-8th - 17).
The 2009 season was also a landmark campaign in which Notre Dame posted a 43-17 record. It was the 11th 40-win campaign in program history and fifth under Gumpf. Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA Tournament and was ranked 25th in the final regular season NFCA Top 25 poll. The ranking was a first since 2004 and the first to end the season since 2002.
A number of top single-season team marks - many of which would fall just one year later - were set during 2009 including: runs (2nd - 310), doubles (3rd - 90), home runs (1st - 66), RBI (1st - 282), total bases (1st - 748), slugging pct. (1st - .501), walks (1st - 152), on-base pct. (2nd - .371) and complete games (3rd - 46). That season also saw Lux earn third-team NFCA All-America accolades.
Pitcher Brittney Bargar thrived under Gumpf's guidance and earned her second NFCA All-Region honor in as many seasons as she was one of five Notre Dame players to receive the distinction in 2009. She was joined in the award column by classmate Beth Northway, sophomore Erin Marrone, Miller and Lux. The five honorees comprised the largest group of all-region selections since Notre Dame placed six on the team in 2001.
Notre Dame beat three teams - St. John's, No. 17 Louisville and No. 19 DePaul - without allowing an earned run en route to claiming the program's sixth BIG EAST Tournament title. And not only did Notre Dame hand Louisville just its second home loss of the season, but the Irish became the only team to blank the Cardinals on the year. It was the first time Notre Dame beat ranked opponents in two consecutive contests since 2005 and the first time the Irish beat a pair of top-20 teams on consecutive tries since 2000. Bargar, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, earned two shutout wins while giving up eight hits.
And for the second season in a row the Irish placed seven players on respective all-BIG EAST Conference squads. Northway, Lux and Miller were each named to the first team and both Irish pitchers - Valdivia and Bargar - sat on the second team with Linda Kohan. Marrone was voted to the third team.
Gumpf also aided in the development of Valdivia from the circle, as the pitcher was victorious in each of her last 17 decisions, including all of her 10 BIG EAST contests. Valdivia went over two months after a March 14 loss to No. 12 Arizona without a defeat.
When assuming control of the Irish program in July of 2001 from her mentor and close friend, Liz Miller, Gumpf inherited a team that one season prior had finished with a school-best 54-7 record. Without missing a beat, the Irish once again advanced to the final day of competition at the NCAA Regional tournament and in the process smashed the school record for home runs in a season. Notre Dame also came through with a dramatic run in the 2002 BIG EAST Championship, rallying from a first-day loss to hand Virginia Tech a pair of defeats on the final day to claim the league title.
The second year of the Gumpf era began with a 10-11 start to the season before Notre Dame ripped off a 20-game win streak from April 1-26 to assume control of the BIG EAST Conference standings. The team then swept through the BIG EAST Championship by scoring 21 runs in three games and won the title on a walk-off home run from conference player of the year Andrea Loman in the bottom of the ninth inning against Villanova.
The Irish rode their momentum into the start of the 2004 slate, upsetting No. 8 Nebraska during the first weekend of the season to claim the program's first-ever bracket championship at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. The team also won the Hoosier Invitational title and the BIG EAST regular-season crown while taking part in a record 69 contests. Notre Dame was victorious in 49 of those games - the second-best win total in school history - aided by an 18-2 mark in conference play.
By claiming her 100th victory at Notre Dame in record time in 2004, Gumpf was able to reach the 100-win plateau faster than any previous Irish head coach. She reached the 200-win plateau, again in record time, with a victory in the second game of an April 9 doubleheader against Pittsburgh in 2006. The Irish ensured the victory would be a memorable one, as they pounded out 21 hits to tie the school record. Two Irish players - Stephanie Brown and Meagan Ruthrauff - both finished with four hits apiece, as Ruthrauff would also set school records with three home runs and seven RBI.
Yet another landmark season came about in 2005 as the Irish hosted their first NCAA Championship competition at Ivy Field. Bolstered by a 20-game win streak - the second 20-game run of the Gumpf era which included tournament titles at the GRU Classic and Hawaii's Spring Fling - the Irish won the BIG EAST Conference regular-season title and advanced to the BIG EAST Championship final game.
Over the next two seasons, the Irish posted a 74-45 mark including 22 contests against 16 different top-25 opponents. The early stage of the 2006 slate was highlighted by a 3-2 comeback victory over No. 10 Arizona State, which came at the hands of Stephanie Brown's two-run game-winning homer. After dropping a pair of games to No. 4 Texas and No. 7 Alabama, the Irish proceeded to post a nine-game winning streak including four wins in conference play. Notre Dame kept themselves among the top teams in BIG EAST play with the only five conference losses heading into the league tournament. The Irish entered the post-season showdown as the third-seeded squad and rolled through the competition with wins over Providence, Pittsburgh, and No. 18 Louisville to claim Gumpf's third conference crown in only five seasons.
Notre Dame then headed to Evanston (Ill.) for the NCAA Championship and defeated UC Santa Barbara and Southern Illinois before falling to Northwestern - who would go on to earn a seat in that season's World Series - to finish the year with over 40 wins for the third consecutive season.
Gumpf and the Irish rallied to a runner-up finish in the 2007 edition of the BIG EAST Tournament upon entering the event as the fourth-seeded team. Behind the solid play and leadership of senior Brown, Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA Championship for the ninth consecutive season before bowing out to Illinois State in regional action. Brown would later be named a second-team Academic All-American, finishing her career ranked among the program's all-time leaders in eight career offensive categories (including hits, runs, stolen bases, home runs and batting average).
As an assistant coach at Notre Dame (1998-2001), Gumpf worked primarily with the Irish pitchers and hitters. In each of those four seasons, Notre Dame lowered its team earned run average and eventually posted a spectacular 0.89 ERA in 2001, which ranked seventh-best in the nation. And as the team ERA dropped, its batting average steadily rose as the team set single-season program records for home runs, batting average, runs scored and strikeouts thrown with Gumpf on the staff.
Irish players have mirrored their coach's competitive fire over the past 14 seasons and continue to show a flair for the ability to make clutch plays at key times. This became apparent in Gumpf's first season, when she led the team to face No. 4 Nebraska for the dedication game of the Cornhusker's Bowlin Stadium. Facing her alma mater for the first time as a head coach, Gumpf and the Irish left Lincoln with a 3-2 win after Liz Hartmann drilled a three-run homer in the top of the sixth inning for the upset victory.
The La Palma, Calif., native played at Nebraska from 1989-92 while earning a degree in business management. Gumpf was an all-Big Eight Conference second team selection in 1991 and an honorable mention pick in both 1989 and 1990.
Prior to her collegiate success in Lincoln, Gumpf enjoyed an outstanding prep career with Gordon's Panthers, one of the most dominating Amateur Softball Association teams in Southern California.
Gumpf pursued a professional position with Delta Airlines after graduating from Nebraska but did not stay too detached from softball. She started to give private pitching lessons in the Southern California area and what began as a small side job turned into a major venture.
After earning her master's degree from Azusa Pacific University in physical education and coaching in 1997, Gumpf entertained countless offers from college coaches hoping to entice her with the opportunity to get back into the college game. Perhaps not too surprisingly, one of the first coaches to call Gumpf was Liz Miller.
Miller discussed the possibility of having Gumpf join the Irish staff, but a position was never established and Gumpf would opt to become the pitching coach at Long Beach State. Two years later, Miller phoned Gumpf again to offer a position and the future Irish head coach jumped at the chance. The rest is history.
During the dedication of the Charles and Marie Doherty Batting Cages at Melissa Cook Stadium in the fall of 2011, the Notre Dame athletics department bestowed Gumpf with an honorary Monogram.
Gumpf resides in South Bend with her husband John and two children, Brady and Tatum.
DEANNA GUMPF YEAR-BY-YEAR AT NOTRE DAME
|Year||Won||Lost||Tied||Pct.||CONF Won||CONF Lost||CONF Tied||Pct.||Conference/Postseason|
|2002||44||17||0||.721||18||2||0||.900||BIG EAST Champion/NCAA Regionals|
|2003||38||17||0||.691||14||3||0||.824||BIG EAST Champion/NCAA Regionals|
|2004||49||20||0||.710||18||2||0||.900||BIG EAST Regular-Season Champion/NCAA Regionals|
|2005||46||15||0||.754||16||2||0||.889||BIG EAST Regular-Season Champion/NCAA Regionals|
|2006||42||21||0||.667||17||5||0||.773||BIG EAST Champion/NCAA Regionals|
|2007||32||24||0||.571||13||7||0||.650||BIG EAST Runner-Up/NCAA Regionals|
|2009||43||17||0||.717||19||4||0||.826||BIG EAST Champion/NCAA Regionals|
|2010||47||12||0||.797||18||3||0||.857||BIG EAST Regular-Season Champion/NCAA Regionals|
|2011||46||11||0||.807||19||1||0||.950||BIG EAST Regular-Season Champion/NCAA Regionals|
|2012||40||16||0||.714||16||3||0||.842||BIG EAST Runner-Up/NCAA Regionals|
|2013||43||15||0||.741||19||3||0||.864||BIG EAST Regular-Season Champion/NCAA Regionals|
|2014||41||13||0||.759||16||5||0||.762||ACC Runner-Up/NCAA Regionals|
|(14 seasons)||591||235||1||.715||234||54||0||.813||7 BIG EAST Regular-Season Titles, 4 BIG EAST Tournament Titles/14 NCAA Regional Appearances