Lombardi Named NFCA Assistant Coach of the Year
NORMAN – Oklahoma softball associate head coach Melyssa Lombardi has been named the 2017 Easton/NFCA Division I Assistant Coach of the Year, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced Monday afternoon.
The 2017 season marked the 20th for Lombardi as pitching coach for the Sooners and featured one of the deepest staffs in program history. Three pitchers threw at least 100 innings and all five members of the staff had ERAs at 2.08 or lower. The staff ERA was 1.55 on the season with 510 strikeouts (fourth most in program history) in 482.2 innings and an opponents’ average of .177 (eighth lowest at OU).
Paige Parker continued her career with another All-American season and her third straight season being named Big 12 Pitcher of the Year after posting the lowest ERA (1.43) and best strikeout rate (8.72 per 7 IP) of her career. She posted a 26-5 record with six shutouts while holding opponents to a .179 average in a team-high 210.1 innings.
Junior Paige Lowary transferred from Missouri and was named an All-Big 12 First Team honoree as she emerged as a dominant relief pitcher. With 11 saves on the year, Lowary had more than any team previously recorded in OU history and she tied for fifth in NCAA single-season records. In 146.2 innings, Lowary went 16-3 on the season with 122 strikeouts to just 33 walks with an opponents’ average of .163.
Freshman Mariah Lopez went 18-1 on the season with 109 strikeouts in 101 innings and threw a no-hitter. Fellow freshmen Nicole Mendes and Melanie Olmos rounded out the staff by giving up just two runs in 24.2 combined innings.
Earlier this season, Lombardi was part of the NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year along with head coach Patty Gasso, assistant coach J.T. Gasso and volunteer assistant coach Andrea Gasso.
During her tenure, the Sooners have won the 2000, 2013, 2016 and 2017 National Championships and have won 16 NCAA Regional Championships in 20 postseason appearances. In addition, the Sooners have claimed nine Big 12 regular season titles and four conference tournament championships.
As a member of the Sooners’ coaching staff, Lombardi has been a part of four NFCA National Coaching Staffs of the Year (including each of the last two seasons) and 10 Regional Coaching Staffs of the Year (including each of the last six seasons).
The winners of the NFCA Assistant Coach of the Year awards were nominated by their NFCA member head coach and selected by a panel of their peers on the NFCA Awards Committee.
The 2017 USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll is voted on by 32 NCAA Division I head coaches, one representing each conference.
California (24), Oklahoma State (19), Wisconsin (11), North Dakota State (5), Arkansas (4), USC Upstate (4), Illinois (4), Mississippi State (4), Florida International (2), Texas State (2), Cal State Fullerton (2), Oregon State (1).
7/8/17 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NFCA announces Jessica Mendoza as 2017 Convention keynote speaker
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Jessica Mendoza, an analyst on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball team, will deliver this year’s keynote address at the 2017 NFCA Convention, Dec. 6-9 in Las Vegas. A four-time NFCA first-team All-American, Mendoza is a two-time Olympic medalist, three-time world champion and was the 2006 USA Softball Athlete of the Year.
A former star outfielder and NFCA Scholar-Athlete who led Stanford University to its first Women’s College World Series (WCWS) appearance in 2001, Mendoza still holds school records in a variety of offensive categories for the Cardinal, including career batting average (.416), hits (327), runs (230), slugging percentage (.719) and home runs (50).
“I am so excited to speak at the NFCA convention this year,” said Mendoza. “I have learned so much from this convention in the past and feel it is the epicenter for knowledge and growth in our sport. It is important to keep softball growing and I believe the NFCA Convention is a big part of that.”
She was also a standout performer for the U.S. Women’s National Team from 2001-10, earning Olympic gold in 2004 and silver in 2008 in Beijing, the same year Mendoza was selected the Women’s Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year. Team USA won world championships in 2002, 2006 and 2010, captured the World Cup of Softball in 2006, 2007 and 2010 and scored Pan American titles in 2003 and 2007.
A familiar face on television since finishing her playing career, Mendoza serves as an analyst and reporter for the WCWS on ESPN and a sideline reporter for college football games.
Since joining ESPN in 2007, Mendoza has broken several barriers in television broadcasting. In 2015, she became the first female broadcaster for ESPN’s Men’s College World Series and the first woman to be an analyst for a Major League Baseball game, when she worked the Aug. 24 Monday Night Baseball contest between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs. Her work on several Sunday Night Baseball games and a nationally-televised MLB American League Wild Card Game led to Mendoza being named a permanent member of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team in January 2016.
Prior to joining ESPN, Mendoza was a reporter for Yahoo! Sports at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the lead analyst for college softball games on FOX Sports.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies in 2002 and a Masters in Social Sciences in Education in 2003.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The NFCA is pleased to welcome Legacy Event Management as its newest convention sponsor. Legacy Events has agreed to a four-year contract and will be the title sponsor for the NFCA Convention’s post-Hall of Fame social event. The new late evening social will debut in Las Vegas this year and continue through 2020.
“We are thrilled to welcome Legacy Event Management as an Official NFCA Convention sponsor,” said NFCA Executive Director Carol Bruggeman. “Their organization is committed to developing and executing first-class events in the fastpitch community. Anyone who has attended an event coordinated by Legacy understands their commitment to excellence. The NFCA looks forward to working with Legacy Event Management to continue to grow fastpitch events for many years to come.”
Legacy Events manages and endorses elite level sporting competitions (showcases, tournaments, camps) that connect dedicated youth athletes with college coaches for potential recruitment.
According to Will Tomasello, Founder of Legacy Event Management, LLC, and Tournament Director of the Atlanta Legacy Showcase, “The NFCA has played a pivotal role in the growth and success of the fastpitch community. As a member and convention exhibitor through the years, we have been fortunate to experience how the NFCA has, and continues to, create a convention environment that reaches out to all affiliations in the softball world. Carol, and her team, have done an outstanding job of creating new and innovative programming at the convention. They are committed to the success of this sport and everyone who is a part of it. The timing was right for our organization to come on board and join in on that commitment. 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the Atlanta Legacy Showcase, Legacy’s landmark event. We are excited to roll out this sponsorship with the NFCA in conjunction with celebrating this momentous milestone.”
Legacy provides a full service, highly personalized experience for assessing student-athletes. Its showcases and tournaments are designed to bring select premier teams together to play in a dynamic format. Additionally, camps provide a setting where student-athletes can participate in extensive training and workout clinics that teach skills of the game, while providing a stage for college recruitment. Its hallmark event, the Atlanta Legacy Showcase, is centrally located in the heart of ACC/SEC country and draws elite teams from around the country as well as hundreds of colleges representing all NCAA schools and power conferences. To learn more about Legacy and its upcoming events, go to www.lemgt.com.