JANUARY 28 2011 UPDATE
NEW NATIONAL TEAM COACHES NAMED
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 1/28/2011
Eriksen, Johns Named Head Coaches for USA Softball Women’s Program
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today the selection of Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla.) and Karen Johns (Whippany, N.J.) as the Head Coaches of the Women’s National Team and Junior Women’s National Team, respectively. Eriksen has served as an assistant coach for many women’s teams including the 2004 Olympic Gold medal winning team in Athens while Johns was an assistant for the 2008 Olympic Silver medal winning team in Beijing.
Eriksen will serve as the head coach for the Women’s National team in 2011 and 2012 which will include the 2011 Pan American Games and the 2012 ISF World Championships. Eriksen will become the first male in the history of the program to represent USA Softball as both a player and coach. He was a catcher on the 1991 USA Men’s National team that captured a silver medal in the Pan American Games. He also served as the assistant coach for the Women’s National Team from 2001-2004 and also in 2009 and 2010. He is currently the head coach at the University of South Florida, a position he has held since 1997.
“This is an incredible opportunity for me as a coach and for USA Softball to bring new faces into the USA Softball National team family. Our goal is to prepare and shape this unit into a championship caliber team that will compete in the next two ISF medal events as well as the World Cup of Softball here in the United States in front of our fans,” said Eriksen. “The Pan American Games in 2011 and the World Championships in 2012 will be our main focus in helping promote the sport of softball while repeating as Champions.”
Johns led the 2010 USA Softball Junior Women’s National Team to the Pan American Championship and will lead the same team in 2011 to the ISF Junior Women’s World Championships in Cape Town, South Africa in December. Johns has served as an assistant coach for the Women’s National Team program from 2005-2008 where she helped the team win a World Championship and a Silver Medal at the Olympic Games.
“We are really excited to build on the success of the 2010 season. We had a great showing at the Pan American Championship and would like to continue our reign as Junior World Champions this December in South Africa,” said Johns. “This junior team is truly the future of the Women’s National program and the future looks exciting.”
ASA and USA Softball is also announcing the 2011-2012 Women’s National Team Coaching pool of 24 coaches. The assistant coaches for the Women’s and Junior Women’s National team events this summer will be selected from this pool at a later date. The Women’s National Team Selection Committee will continue to open the coaches’ pool every two years due to the ISF World Championship biennial cycle.
“We are thrilled to have a great cross section of coaches for the Women’s National team program for the next two years,” said ASA and USA Softball Executive Director Ron Radigonda. “With the ISF change of World Championships every two years, we are excited to assist coaches in gaining international experience and opportunities.”
2011-2012 USA Softball Women’s National Coaching Pool
Vaughn Alvey – BYU
Suzy Brazney – Golden West College
Chuck D’Arcy – Arizona State
Howard Dobson – Southern Miss
Kate Drohan – Northwestern
Gordon Eakin- BYU
Tairia Flowers – Cal State Northridge
Michelle Gromacki – Cal State Fullerton
Stacy Iveson – Yavapai College
Mike Larabee – Arkansas
Kyle Magnusson – Southern Utah
Jay Miller – Mississippi State
Pat Murphy – Alabama
Stacey Nuveman – San Diego State
Jamie Pinkerton – Iowa State
Tony Rico – Worth Firecrackers
Eileen Schmidt – Virginia
Mike White – University of Oregon
Karen Weekly – Tennessee
A tryout camp for the Women’s team will be held (June 13-17). For the first time since 1997, the year after the Atlanta Olympics, the women’s national team will not include former Olympians. ASA/USA announced last month that Olympians Catherine Osterman, Monica Abbott, Jessica Mendoza, Caitlin Lowe, Natasha Watley, Lauren Lappin, Vicky Galindo and Andrea Duran have elected to play with National Pro Fastpitch. Jennie Finch announced her retirement after the KFC Championship. Crystl Bustos, Laura Berg , Kelly Kretschman, Stacey Nuveman, Tairia Flowers and Lovieanne Jung turned in their cleats at the conclusion of the Beijing Olympics.
Also, while not mentioned in this press release, the posted USA Softball schedule calls for the women’s team to compete in the Canadian Open, the World Cup, and the Japan Cup, all in July, as well as Pan Am in October, and play June-July exhibition games in Chula Vista, Plant City, Salem (VA), and Bowie (MD).
THE CHALLENGER TRAGEDY
Twenty years ago, the world stood horrified as the Challenger exploded, leaving that iconic twin tail of smoke cloud as the shuttle broke apart. AOL did a survey: where were you? I was on a plane from Madrid into JFK; US Customs officials advised me when we landed. Missed connecting flight to DC so that I could watch live TV coverage in Pan Am lounge.
PAC 10 PRE-SEASON PROJECTION
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — By a vote of the Conference’s softball coaches, defending national champion UCLA and national runner-up Arizona tied atop the preseason coaches’ poll, with 46 points apiece and four first-place votes each. This is not the first time in Conference history that the Bruins and Wildcats have tied atop the poll, as it previously happened in 2001 and 2002.
UCLA defeated Arizona to win the 2010 NCAA Women’s College World Series, 2-0, in the final. The Bruins finished the season 50-11 and 14-7 in Pac-10 play. The squad will return six starters and three pitchers for the 2011 season.
The Wildcats enter into 2011 following a 2010 season where they finished 52-14 and 13-8 in the Pac-10. Arizona will look to avenge its loss to Pac-10 rival UCLA in the 2010 NCAA Women’s College World Series final this season, as they return 9-of-10 players from last year’s regular scorecard, including stellar pitcher Kenzie Fowler.
Arizona State, the 2008 NCAA champion, was picked third with 30 points. The Sun Devils are building off a strong 2010 season where they went 44-17 and 10-11 in Pac-10 play. ASU returns eight starters from last season’s team that advanced to its fifth-consecutive NCAA Super Regional.
CALIFORNIA and WASHINGTON, with 26 points each, tied for the fourth position in the poll. The Golden Bears are coming off an NCAA Super Regional season, where they went 44-19 on the season and 10-11 in Pac-10 play. The Huskies turned in a stellar 50-9 season in 2010 and won the Pac-10 behind strong senior pitching of Danielle Lawrie. UW advanced to the NCAA Women’s College World Series, but were knocked out by Arizona.
STANFORD was picked sixth in the poll with 22 points, OREGON followed close behind with 21 and OREGON STATE was picked eighth with seven points.
The 2011 Pac-10 softball season kicks off on Feb. 10, as Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon and Oregon State all turn to the diamond. The rest of the squads, including the Bruins and Wildcats, will begin their seasons on Feb. 11.
Following are the results of the preseason coaches’ poll. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams (points 7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first place votes in parentheses)
|1. Arizona (4)||46|
|3. Arizona State||30|
|8. Oregon State||7|