(Story courtesy of NFCA)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – First-time national champion Texas Lutheran University was voted the winner of the 2019 NFCA Division III National Coaching Staff of the Year award, the Association revealed on Monday.
Led by head coach Wade Wilson and assistants Olivia Van Hook and Ed Zarzabal, Texas Lutheran (40-8) advanced to its first NCAA championship and went a perfect 5-0 there to claim the first Division III softball crown in school history. The Bulldogs defeated Emory twice on May 27 in the best-of-three championship series to earn the title and complete a stretch during which they won 19 of 20 games.
In their run to the national championship, Texas Lutheran went undefeated in the NCAA Marshall (Texas) Regional, and 2-1 against Linfield College at the McMinnville (Ore.) Super Regional. Add on their three victories en route to their sixth-straight Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, and the Bulldogs were 13-1 overall in the postseason this year.
Texas Lutheran went 18-5 against teams that were ranked or received votes in the NFCA Top 25 this season, including wins over Birmingham-Southern College (twice), Eastern Connecticut State University, East Texas Baptist University (twice), Emory University (twice), Linfield (twice), Southwestern University (five), Transylvania University (twice), Trine University and Williams College.
The Bulldogs were also the West Region representative when the NFCA Division III Regional Coaching Staffs of the Year were revealed last week. Other regional honorees were the University of Lynchburg (Atlantic), Trine University (Central), The College of New Jersey (East), Illinois Wesleyan University (Great Lakes), the University of St. Thomas (Midwest), Ithaca College (Northeast) and Eastern Connecticut State University (New England).