7-26-2012 Coaches




HARRISONBURG, Va., July 26, 2012 – James Madison University Athletics Director Jeff Bourne has announced the hiring of Mickey Dean to serve as the Dukes’ head softball coach. Dean, a native of the Central Shenandoah Valley, has spent the past six seasons leading the Radford University softball program to unprecedented success. He also brings professional and international coaching experience to the JMU softball program.

“We are extremely pleased to have Mickey Dean join our staff and give leadership to our softball program,” Bourne said. “He shares our vision for student-athlete welfare and helping our student-athletes attain excellence in the classroom and on the playing field. Mickey has a proven track record as an exceptional coach and a wonderful person. He will be a welcomed member to the JMU family and an advocate for the members of our softball program.”

“It is no doubt great to return home, and I want to thank Athletics Director Jeff Bourne and Associate Athletics Director Kevin White for

this opportunity,” Dean said. “As I stated to both, I believe the future of this program is limitless. With the combination of our history of academic excellence and state-of-the-art facilities, JMU softball can become a nationally recognized program competing for championships at the highest level.”

Dean guided Radford to a six-year overall record of 241-116 (.675) and to an 84-21 (.800) mark in the Big South Conference. The Highlanders finished first in the Big South’s regular-season standings in each of the past four seasons and captured championship crowns by winning the Big South Championship Tournament in 2009 and 2010. In 2009 the Highlanders also claimed the program’s first NCAA tournament win, compiling three victories in their two NCAA appearances. Dean was tabbed as the league’s Coach of the Year of the past four seasons and once on the regional scale. Since 2005, Radford was the winningest program (320-163) in the state of Virginia and from 2006-09, the Highlanders were just one of 10 Division I programs nationally to win 40 contests each season.

His Radford players accounted for 15 Big South annual awards, 14 All-Region honors, 37 All-Conference laurels and 32 All-State recognitions. Radford also had the program’s first All-America selection this past season.

“I enjoyed my time at Radford and am grateful to everyone there. With the leadership and dedication of the administration we were able to build a nationally recognized program,” Dean said.

Prior to being named the Highlanders’ head coach in 2006, Dean served as an assistant coach at Longwood University (2005-06), Indiana University (2002-04) and the University of Akron (2001-02).

In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Dean has also worked on the professional and international level. He was the pitching coach for the Venezuelan National Team (2002-08) and the head coach for the Chicago Bandits (2004-10) that finished as the National Pro Fastpitch Regular-Season Champions five times and won the World Championship in 2008. Dean was named NPF Manager of the Year three times and coached world-renowned pitcher Jennie Finch, who was the NPF’s Co-Pitcher of the Year in 2005 and has a gold and silver medal from her two Team USA Olympic appearances.

Dean attended nearby Spotswood High School, where he was a multi-sport athlete. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a minor in business administration from  Elon University in 1987.

Dean and his wife, Liz, have two children, Isaac and Caroline.

“I look forward to help bring many successes and championships to our community,” Dean said.



NFCA Hall of Fame Member Mary Nutter Passes Away
Note from NPF

NPF is sad to learn of the passing of NFCA Hall of Fame Member, Mary Nutter. Mary was one of the game’s biggest contributors and supporters. Most of you know Mary through National Sports Clinics which she conducted throughout the country. National Sports Clinics was based out of Kansas City, Missouri. Mary was a diligent advocate for the development of fastpitch softball at all levels. Her impact on the sport will be felt for many years to come. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family members and close friends. You will be missed dearly!  Spy note:  I first attended one of Mary’s Clinics many years ago after coaching a 12U team which was league champion.  In the first 30 minutes, I realized how much I did not know about softball.Mary was a friend to all whom she met, and we all came away from her clinics enriched by the experience.


Pickering Added to `Dogs Softball Staff

Sara Pickering is the first assistant coach to be hired by the Bulldogs new head softball coach Trisha Ford.

FRESNO, Calif. – Fresno State head softball coach Trisha Ford announced the hiring of Sara Pickering to her staff on Thursday. Pickering is the first member of Ford’s staff to be added and joins the Bulldogs with a wealth of coaching and playing experience.

Ford and Pickering coached together prior to Fresno State at Stanford. Pickering was an assistant coach for the Cardinal from 1998-2003. While with the Cardinal, she worked primarily with the defense and as the team’s hitting coach; she also recruited and helped with community relations. Pickering and the Cardinal competed in five consecutive NCAA Regional appearances.

Prior to joining the `Dogs, Pickering spent two seasons coaching at Cal State Fullerton. She spent a season as the volunteer assistant was promoted to a full-time assistant coaching position with the Titans in July of 2011. Pickering spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons as an assistant coach with the Seminoles under head coach Lonni Alameda, specializing with the FSU infielders and hitters. She helped guide FSU to its best start since 1993 (20-1) and helped Florida State hit .297 as a team. In 2009, the Seminoles also ranked among the top 25 nationally in fielding percentage (.971).

As a player, Pickering was the first two-time, first-team All-American at Washington. She started every game at second base during her four-year career from 1994-97, a span of 271 games. A three-time team co-captain, she helped lead the Huskies to their first Pacific-10 Conference title in 1996 and left the program with 15 records to her name, including an NCAA record 91 career doubles.

Perhaps her most stunning accomplishment came off the field, as a cancer survivor. Pickering was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease and underwent a life-saving stem cell transplant in 2001. She has been in remission for nearly 10 years. To further her cause, she raised more than $5,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by completing the 2003 Portland Marathon.

While at UNLV, she helped the fight against cancer as the softball team annually hosted a “K-Out Cancer Day” to help benefit the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation. The Rebels also participated in the NCCF’s “Champions Run for Life” event each year.


LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech softball coach Shanon Hays announced Thursday the hiring of former South Carolina standout Chrissy Schoonmaker as the program’s new assistant coach.

Schoonmaker spent the past two seasons as the volunteer assistant coach at her alma mater and will work primarily with the Red Raider infielders while also serving as first base coach and base running instructor.

She replaces Kristie Fox, who ended her three-year tenure at Tech in June when she became the new head coach at UT Arlington. Schoonmaker will also be the program’s camp coordinator and will assist in both recruiting and scheduling future opponents.


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