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    Liz Miller  
    Liz Miller

    Hometown:
    Bronson, Mich.

    Position:
    Head Coach

    Experience:
    8th at Notre Dame


    After 24 seasons overall, including seven at Notre Dame, some things have never changed for Irish head softball coach Liz Miller.

    Through the program?s 10 years of existence, the Irish have never fallen below the 30-win mark and continue to set records and receive honors that have never been done before.

    Miller led the Irish to yet another unprecendented season in 1999, finishing 42-20 overall and for the first time capturing the BIG EAST Tournament Championship. The 1999 Irish went undefeated against conference foes (19-0) before finishing the team?s season at the NCAA Region 6 Tournament, falling to Nebraska in an extra-inning affair. The team?s success in 1999 was only furthered by Miller?s personal milestone of reaching 800 career victories, which she achieved with the team?s 9-1 victory over Rutgers on April 10.

    Some of the new milestones that the team, under Miller?s guidance, achieved in 1999 included a sweep of the major player awards of the BIG EAST Conference, with Jennifer Sharron earning pitcher-of-the-year honors for the second time in as many tries, shortstop/pitcher Melanie Alkire winning player-of-the-year honors and freshman Jarrah Myers being named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. In all, six Notre Dame players were named to the 12-member 1999 all-BIG EAST first team, while a record five were named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) all-Mideast Region teams.

    In 1998, Sharron became the first Notre Dame player and first freshman ever to win the BIG EAST Conference?s top pitcher award. Senior pitcher Kelly Nichols set the NCAA record for career saves with 24, while three freshmen were named to the BIG EAST all-rookie team, the most since the Irish joined the conference in 1996.

    Only a year prior, Miller coached the team to a program-best batting average of .311 and in 1996, the Irish won 48 games, more than any other Notre Dame softball team. Of the 48 wins, 19 came during a school-record winning streak that spanned nearly a month during the season.

    Another indication of the success of Notre Dame softball under Miller has been the national honors the Irish have received. Since 1994, Notre Dame has had four selections to the NFCA All-America list.

    After winning three Midwestern Collegiate Conference regular season and tournament titles from 1993-95, Miller and her team moved into the BIG EAST Conference in 1996. In her first year in the BIG EAST, Miller led the team to a 19-1 record and the BIG EAST South Division title. Miller claimed BIG EAST coach-of-the-year honors as her team raced through the competition for the best BIG EAST regular-season record. In their four seasons in the BIG EAST Conference under Miller, the Irish have compiled the best record in the conference in those years at 64-8 with three BIG EAST South Division titles and one overall regular season title in 1999.

    Her players have dominated the BIG EAST postseason awards, winning player of the year three times and pitcher and rookie of the year two times apiece. Miller?s teams have produced 16 all-BIG EAST first-team selections and nine second-team selections.

    Miller?s players also have excelled in the classroom as well as on the diamond. Her players have earned GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors on 11 occasions in her seven seasons as head coach, already the third most of any sport in the long history of Notre Dame athletics. Three times the Irish have been recognized by the NFCA as one of the top-10 academic teams based on their overall team grade-point average.

    With the addition of Miller in 1993, the Notre Dame softball program entered a new era in its short history. Miller became only the second coach in Irish softball history, and she has taken the success started by current assistant athletic director Brian Boulac and expanded it into the national spotlight.

    A Bronson, Mich., native, Miller has plenty of experience in athletic administration, as well as in coaching a number of different women?s sports. As athletic director at Lake Michigan Community College in Benton Harbor, Mich., she implemented the women?s athletic program and from 1974-1991, the future member of the LMC Hall of Fame served as the head coach for volleyball, basketball and softball.

    In her 17 years at LMC, Miller?s combined record for all sports was an unprecedented 1047-331, including a stellar 541-142 career record in softball. Miller?s success at the junior college level led to her induction into the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Coaches Hall of Fame in May of 1999.

    In 1988, she resigned her post as volleyball coach after 15 years, but only after leading her teams to seven Western Conference championships and two NJCAA top-10 rankings in 1983 and 1984.

    She remained the head softball coach, however, and during her tenure, she amassed 12 conference championships and 11 regional titles. From 1981 to 1985 her team finished in the nation?s top five, and from 1987 to 1991 the squad was ranked in the top 10 at season?s end. These streaks included a number-two finish in 1981 and a number-three ranking in 1982, 1983 and 1988. Throughout these years, Miller?s teams qualified for the NJCAA tournament 10 times.

    Miller began her quest for athletic prominence at Western Michigan University, where she earned a bachelor?s degree in physical education in 1969 and a master?s degree in counseling and personnel in 1971. She played both field hockey and volleyball, while also spending six summers on an American Softball Association travel softball team. While in school, Miller presided over the Women?s Recreation Association as well and has since been named to the Western Michigan Athletic Hall of Fame.

    Upon graduation, Miller began her professional career in the classroom, teaching in Michigan public schools for four years. Then she shifted her educational emphasis, leaving the classrooms and entering the athletic arena. Spanning all the way back to 1974, she had coached a number of ASA travel teams all the way through the summer of 1991, earning many divisional titles and other regional accolades.

    Off the field, Miller?s husband of 32 years, Lloyd, is a partner at Crowe, Chizek & Company, an accounting firm in South Bend. She has two children, Jennifer, who graduated from Notre Dame in 1993, and Jeremy, a 1996 Notre Dame graduate.

    The Liz Miller File

    YearSchoolWLPct.Postseason Play/Notes
    1975Lake Michigan169.640?
    1976Lake Michigan1610.615?
    1977Lake Michigan1011.476?
    1978Lake Michigan126.667?
    1979Lake Michigan126.667 Western Conference Champion
    1980Lake Michigan195.792Western Conference Champion/Region XII Champion
    1981Lake Michigan447.8632nd in nation/Western Conf. Champ./Region XII Champ.
    1982Lake Michigan374.9023rd in nation/Western Conf. Champ./Region XII Champ.
    1983Lake Michigan347.8293rd in nation/Western Conf. Champ./Region XII Champ.
    1984Lake Michigan377.841 5th in nation/Western Conf. Champ./Region XII Champ.
    1985Lake Michigan349.7915th in nation/Western Conf. Champ./Region XII Champ.
    1986Lake Michigan385.884Western Conference Champion
    1987Lake Michigan4710.8255th in nation/Western Conf. Champ./Region XII Champ.
    1988Lake Michigan4811.8143rd in nation/Western Conf. Champ./Region XII Champ.
    1989Lake Michigan4914.7785th in nation/Western Conf. Champ./Region XII Champ.
    1990Lake Michigan3914.7367th in nation/Region XII Champion
    1991Lake Michigan497.8757th in nation/Western Conf. Champ./Region XII Champ.
    17-Year Record?541142.79210 National Top 10 Finishes/12 Western Conference Championships/ 10 Region XII Championships

    YearSchoolWLPct.
    1993Notre Dame3613.667
    1994Notre Dame4120.672
    1995Notre Dame4019.678
    1996Notre Dame4816.750
    1997Notre Dame3525.583
    1998Notre Dame3422.607
    1999Notre Dame4220.677
    7-Year Record?276135.672
    24-Year Record?817277.747


    Postseason Play/Notes
    MCC Champion/Ranked Fourth in Region
    MCC Champion/NCAA Mideast Region/MCC Coach of Year
    MCC Champion/NCAA Region I Runner-Up/MCC Coach of Year
    BIG EAST South Division Champion/NCAA Region II/BIG EAST Coach of the Year
    BIG EAST South Division Champion
    BIG EAST South Division Champion
    BIG EAST Tournament and Regular Season Champions/NCAA Region 6 Tournament
    Four NCAA Appearances/Four Conference Championships/
    Three-Time Conference Coach of the Year

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