LOUISVILLE, Ky.(8-15-22) – Ten high school programs were selected by their peers as a 2022 NFCA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year, the Association were announced last week.
Representing each of the NFCA’s 10 high school regions, these respective coaching staffs – Lincoln Southwest High School (Neb.), Piedmont High School (Okla.), Logan High School (Utah), Sabino High School (Ariz.), Allen Park High School (Mich.), Lake Creek High School (Texas), West Stanly High School (N.C.), Lima Senior High School (Ohio), Donovan Catholic High School (N.J.) and Southington High School (Conn.) – are now eligible for the NFCA High School National Coaching Staff of the Year award, which will be announced on August 22.
To be eligible, the program’s head coach must be a member and nominated. Winners were voted by member head coaches in each of their respective regions.
Region I – Lincoln Southwest (Neb.)
Head Coach: Mark Watt
Assistant Coaches: Lis Brenden, Mitch Ohnoutka, Adam Monk, Rick Dunavin, Samantha Dunavin
Nebraska Class A State Champions … Recorded a 40-6 mark, tying the win total for a Nebraska state champion … Won the district title for the 13th time in 14 seasons … Captured three in-season tournament titles, which included a win over Missouri state champion Lee’s Summit West … Finished No. 15 in the NFCA Fall High School Top 25 Coaches Poll.
Region II – Piedmont (Okla.)
Head Coach: Keith Coleman
Assistant Coaches: Coleman Hughes, Lisa Moss, Todd Brown, Tanya Caraballo, Anthony Moss, Taylor Pence
Captured the Oklahoma 5A state championship, its second in the last three years … Posted a 35-7 record, while also earning the 5A Regional and 5A-2 District titles … Won a pair of in-season tournaments (Shawnee Invitational & Veteran Bat Invitational) … Consistently ranked in the NFCA Fall High School Coaches Poll, finished 2021 at No. 12.
Region III – Logan (Utah)
Head Coach: Lexi Hatch
Assistant Coaches: Bailee Tibbitts, Makayla Child, Taylor Lott
With the addition of 11 new players, who never played softball, as well as eight returnees, Logan improved on their win total from a season ago … Recognized as a staff who not only taught the players the skill to succeed on the field, but were impactful in their lives off the field and in the classroom.
Region IV – Sabino (Ariz.)
Head Coach: Cyndi Cubillas
Assistant Coaches: Ena Madrid, Jackie Urquijo, Mark Nielson, Alyssa Miles, Cailey Flint
Steered Sabino to its third straight AIA Conference 3A state championship … Posted a 32-3 record and owned a 27-game win streak in 2022 … Captured the AIA Outstanding Sportsmanship Award … Posted three shutouts and outscored the opposition 44-7 during a 4-0 state playoff run to the title.
Region V – Allen Park (Mich.)
Head Coach: Mike Kish
Assistant Coaches: Steve Littleton, Myklan Boltnott
Captured its first MHSAA state championship in program history … Posted a 5-0 mark in the state tournament, capping it off with a 5-0 victory over Dakota High School … Ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the state of Michigan throughout the season … Posted a 41-4-1 mark, winning the final 13 games of the season.
Region VI – Lake Creek (Texas)
Head Coach: Michelle Rochinski
Assistant Coaches: Shauna Hazlewood, Brenna Huffman
Undefeated run to a Texas 5A state championship … Posted a perfect 41-0 record … No. 1 team in the final USA Today/NFCA High School Super 25 Poll, holding the No. 1 spot since the third poll of the season … Named 2021-22 USA Today High School Sports Awards Girls Team of the Year.
Region VII – West Stanly (N.C.)
Head Coach: Emily Smith
Assistant Coaches: Walker Barbee, Aaron Hartsell (statistician)
First-year coaching staff guided West Stanly to third straight NCHSAA 2A state championship (team graduated six seniors, and returned just three starters) … After a 5-3 start, the team won 24 of its final 25 contests, including a 6-0 mark in the state tournament … Under the tutelage of Smith, junior Lily Huneycutt, who had never thrown a varsity pitch, posted a 27-3 record, with a 1.51 ERA and 251 strikeouts.
Region VIII – Lima Senior (Ohio)
Head Coach: Robert Nelson
Assistant Coaches: Bryan Stratton, Nicole Nelson
Working with limited resources in an urban environment, the staff has guided Lima to more wins in one year than they have had in a decade combined … The program has seen vast improvements, earned its first NFCA All-Region honor in 2022 and had numerous Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar Athletes … Robert Nelson was voted Three Rivers Athletic Conference Coach of the Year … They are recognized as coaches who make a difference, look beyond the wins and losses and have a positive influence on kids lives and long-term outlooks.
Region IX – Donovan Catholic (N.J.)
Head Coach: Deborah Schwartz
Assistant Coaches: Dawn Dziedzic, Kathleen Sharp, Corey Schwartz
NJSIAA Non-Public ‘A’ state champions … Posted a 30-1 mark with the only defeat coming in the State of Champions tournament … Also captured the South Jersey Non-Public ‘B’ state, 39th annual Hammonton Invitational and Shore Conference Tournament titles … Finished ranked No. 8 in USA Today/NFCA High School Super 25.
Region X – Southington (Conn.)
Head Coach: Davina Hernandez
Assistant Coaches: Michele Boisvert, Rachel Dube, Scott Burkell, Barrett Cretella
Captured the CIAC Class LL state championship (No. 2 overall seed) … A 5-0 state tournament run earned the 20th state title, the most amongst high school softball programs, breaking a three-way tie with high school in New Hampshire and North Carolina … It marked the sixth title for head coach Davina Hernandez … Hernandez’s staff carried a big load in 2022 as Hernandez is battling Lupus and a kidney disease … Posted a 27-1 mark with its only defeat coming at the hands of Class L state champion Masuk.
The NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded coaching awards, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from webinars to legal counsel, to in-person events and the National Convention.