July 3, 2002
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) has announced its coaching staff honors for the 2002 season and the University of Notre Dame earned its second-consecutive Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year award. Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf and assistants Charmelle Green and Kris McCleary were named the 2002 Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year by the NFCA, as selected by their coaching peers (Notre Dame shares the award with Wisconsin due to a tie in the voting). The 2001 Notre Dame staff of Liz Miller, Deanna Gumpf and Traci Conrad earned the same accolade last season.
In 2002, Gumpf and her staff helped the Irish maintain the momentum of an historic 2001 season (54-7 record, top-10 ranking). The ’02 team won 36 of their final 41 games, captured the BIG EAST Championship title and advanced to the championship game of the NCAA Region VII Tournament in Iowa City, Iowa, for the second year in a row. Notre Dame ended up 19th in the final USA Today/NFCA Top 25 ranking with a 44-17 record.
During her first season as head coach of the Fighting Irish, Gumpf saw the team explode for a team-record 54 home runs (far eclipsing the previous team record of 36). The team also set the record for runs scored in a season (318) and fielding percentage (.971).
The Notre Dame team posted all these accomplishments while facing the toughest schedule in school history. In all, 14 teams on the 2002 schedule were ranked when they faced the Irish – breaking the school mark of 13 ranked teams faced in 1998 and 2001. Notre Dame ended up with a 5-9 record in its contests against the 14 ranked teams, knocking off #4 Nebraska in Lincoln, #18 DePaul, #15 Oregon State, #22 Iowa and #25 South Florida.
Individual accolades garnered by the Irish this year included Academic All-American of the Year, third-team All-America honors and the BIG EAST Player of the Year award for senior catcher Jarrah Myers (.370, 13 home runs, 49 RBI, 14 stolen bases, Notre Dame career leader in home runs, RBI and walks), third-team All-America and the BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player award for junior third base Andrea Loman (.377, 12 home runs, 43 RBI, 16 stolen bases), and first-team all-BIG EAST honors for senior Jenny Kriech, junior Andria Bledsoe, junior Lisa Mattison, freshman Megan Ciolli and freshman Steffany Stenglein.
Notre Dame will return the core of its 2002 team next season, as starting infielders Loman, Mattison, Bledsoe and Alexis Madrid return. Freshmen Ciolli and Liz Hartmann (who both started over 56 games this season) will be back in the outfield. In the pitching circle, Stenglein will return after an impressive rookie campaign and BIG EAST all-rookie team selection Carrie Wisen will be in the mix as well. Gumpf also will welcome a highly touted recruiting class, with five incoming freshmen on the 2003 team roster.