June 25, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame softball coaching staff has been named the 2014 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year, the NFCA announced on Wednesday. The Irish coaching staff earned the honor after the team completed its first season in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the NFCA, following Notre Dame's transition to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in July of 2013.
Head coach Deanna Gumpf and associate coach Kris Ganeff received regional staff of the year recognition for the third time during their tenures at Notre Dame, to go along with NFCA Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year honors in 2002 and 2004. Associate coach Lizzy Lemire, volunteer assistant coach Brittany O'Donnell and director of softball operations John Whitty were recognized as members of an NFCA regional staff of the year for the first time.
Notre Dame made its 16th consecutive appearance, and earned its 19th overall bid in 26 seasons of varsity competition, in the NCAA Championship in 2014, finishing the season with a 41-13 record after competing in the NCAA Los Angeles Regional. The Irish placed second in the ACC regular-season standings with a 16-5 league mark in their inaugural campaign in the conference, ultimately reaching the final game of May's ACC Championship tournament in College Park, Md. Notre Dame also surpassed the 40-win plateau for the 16th time in its history, a watermark the Irish have attained in 10 of the last 13 seasons since Gumpf became the program's head coach in 2002.
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 also had a team-best 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 sophomore Micaela Arizmendi and freshman Karley Wester copping second team accolades and junior 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, senior Laura Winter and junior Cassidy Whidden, joined juniors Katey Haus and Jenna Simon (second team) in representing a program record seven Notre Dame players who received NFCA all-region honors in 2014.
2014 NFCA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year Winners
Central Region - University of Oklahoma (51-13, 16-2 Big 12 Conference)
Final USA Today/NFCA Ranking: 5th
Head Coach: Patty Gasso...Associate Head Coach: Melyssa Lombardi...Assistant Coach: Tripp MacKay...Volunteer Assistant Coach: Whitney Cloer...Director of Operations: Sharon Carter
Great Lakes - University of Michigan (47-15, 18-5 Big Ten Conference)
Final USA Today/NFCA Ranking: 10th
Head Coach: Carol Hutchins...Associate Head Coach: Bonnie Tholl...Assistant Coach: Jennifer Brundage...Volunteer Coach: Nikki Nemitz...Director of Operations: Erin McLaughlin
Mid-Atlantic - University of Notre Dame (41-13, 16-5 Atlantic Coast Conference)
Final USA Today/NFCA Ranking: 22nd
Mideast - University of Tulsa (53-9, 19-4 Conference USA)
Final USA Today/NFCA Ranking: 18th
Head Coach: John Bargfeldt...Associate Head Coach: Crissy Strimple...Volunteer Assistant Coach: Jeff Allen
Midwest - University of Nebraska (44-18, 18-5 Big Ten Conference)
Final USA Today/NFCA Ranking: 16th
Head Coach: Rhonda Revelle...Associate Head Coach: Lori Sippel...Assistant Coach: Diane Miller...Director of Operations: Katie Brown
Northeast - James Madison University (45-15, 15-3 Colonial Athletic Association)
Final USA Today/NFCA Ranking: Receiving Votes
Head Coach: Mickey Dean...Assistant Coaches: Jennifer Herzig & Loren LaPorte
Pacific - University of Oregon (56-9-1, 20-3-1 Pac-12 Conference)
Final USA Today/NFCA Ranking: 3rd
Head Coach: Mike White...Assistant Coaches: James Kolaitis & Chelsea Spencer...Volunteer Assistant Coach: Mike Roberts...Director of Operations: Megan Murphy
South - University of Alabama (53-13, 20-5 Southeastern Conference)
Final USA Today/NFCA Ranking: 2nd
Head Coach: Patrick Murphy...Associate Head Coach: Alyson Habetz...Assistant Coach: Stephanie VanBrakle...Volunteer Assistant Coach: Adam Arbour...Director of Operations: Kate Harris
(2014 NFCA Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year) Southeast - University of Kentucky (50-19, 13-11 Southeastern Conference)
Final USA Today/NFCA Ranking: 6th
Head Coach: Rachel Lawson...Associate Head Coach: Kristine Himes...Assistant Coach: Molly Johnson-Belcher...Volunteer Assistant Coach: Kara Dill
West - University of California, Los Angeles (52-8, 19-5 Pac-12 Conference)
Final USA Today/NFCA Ranking: 9th
Head Coach: Kelly Inouye-Perez...Assistant Coaches: Lisa Fernandez & Kirk Walker...Director of Operations: Jodie Legaspi-Kiaha
-- Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant