July 13, 2004
The University of Notre Dame softball coaching staff has been named the 2004 Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Head coach Deanna Gumpf, along with assistants Charmelle Green and Kris Ganeff, helped the Irish to a 49-20 record and the team’s ninth consecutive BIG EAST regular season title.
The Irish played a school record 69 games in 2004, compiling the second-most wins in school history (behind 54 in 2001). Notre Dame reached 40 wins for the fifth time in six seasons, won 18 BIG EAST conference games for the third time (the only BIG EAST team to accomplish that feat) and landed a school-record seven players on the all-BIG EAST first team. Gumpf and her staff were also named the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year in 2004.
The regional award is the second in three seasons for Gumpf and her staff at Notre Dame. The group also won the award in its first season in 2002. Under Gumpf’s leadership, Notre Dame has won 131 games in three seasons against just 54 losses (.708 winning percentage). During the 2004 season, the Irish became the first Notre Dame team to win a championship at the prestigious NFCA Leadoff Classic – taking the Silver Bracket Championship.
All of Notre Dame’s accomplishments in 2004 come on the heels of the team replacing four of six infield positions. First-team all-BIG EAST selection Nicole deFau was the lone senior on the Irish team in 2004, giving Gumpf and her staff a talented and deep team to work with during the 2005 season.
Notre Dame adds Smith to the Class of 2008:
OF Sarah Smith (Oklahoma City, Okla.) has been added to the Class of 2008 and will join Notre Dame as a freshman next season. A speedy outfielder from Heritage Hall High School, Smith is a leadoff hitter for the Jitterbugs ASA team, who recently finished ninth at the 2004 Independence Day Tournament in Colorado. Smith carries a career on-base percentage of .400.
Smith joins early signees Katie Laing (SS, Chandler, Ariz.) and Brittany Glynn (INF, Seymour, Conn.) to complete the incoming freshman class.
Irish announce preliminary 2004 fall schedule:
Notre Dame’s ‘Fall Ball’ schedule will include a tournament in Chicago on Sept. 18 and 19. The Irish will play at home on Oct. 3, then play host to the Melissa Cook Alumni Game on Friday, Oct. 8.
All Notre Dame softball alumni are welcome to return to campus to participate in the Alumni Game, which will be played in memory of former Irish player Melissa Cook. Cook died March 9, 2002, when her car was struck by falling scaffolding in downtown Chicago. In the fall of 2003, the Notre Dame softball program dedicated a bench at Ivy Field to Cook’s memory.
Alumni interested in returning to campus to play in the Alumni Game, which features the current Irish team against the graduates, should contact assistant coach Kris Ganeff at (574) 631-9125.
Irish players see action against U.S. National Team:
Six players from the Notre Dame softball team were selected to play for the Midwest All-Stars against Team USA during the national team’s ‘Aiming for Athens’ tour. The teams met for a doubleheader at a sold out Belleville Softball Complex in South Bend, Ind., on July 2.
Sara Schoonaert (third base), Megan Ciolli (leftfield), Gessica Hufnagle (catcher) and Steffany Stenglein (pitcher) appeared in game one. Ciolli (centerfield), Schoonaert (shortstop), Heather Booth (pitcher) and Stephanie Brown (second base) appeared in game two. Team USA defeated the Midwest All-Stars 10-0 and 7-0.