LOUISVILLE, Ky. – First-time national champion Texas Lutheran University led the eight teams voted as 2019 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III Regional Coaching Staff of the Year honorees, the Association revealed on Monday.
TLU took top honors in the West, while four other teams that reached the NCAA championship finals in Tyler, garnered recognition in their regions.
Led by eighth-year head coach Wade Wilson and assistants Olivia Van Hook, Dennis Moe, and Ed Zarzabal, TLU (40-8) rolled to the NCAA Division III Softball National Championship in Tyler.
The Bulldogs defeated Emory twice on May 27 in the best-of-three championship series to earn the title to complete a stretch during which they won 19 of their last 20 games.
TLU won all five games it played at the DIII College World Series and went 10-1 in NCAA post-season play during its championship run.
The Bulldogs were 3-0 in the Marshall, Texas Regional, 2-1 in the McMinnville, Ore. Super Regional (against Linfield College), and 5-0 at the World Series.
Counting the three wins at the 2019 SCAC Championship, the Bulldogs were 13-1 overall in the 2019 post-season
The Bulldogs (40-8) ended 2019 with an 11-4 record against teams ranked in the final Top 25 poll.
In the run to the title, TLU tallied victories over: then-No. 2 East Texas Baptist, then-No. 6 Birmingham Southern (Alab.), then No. 5 Linfield, then-No. 4 Williams (Mass.), unranked Eastern Connecticut State, then-No. 19 Trine (Ind.), and then No. 18 Emory.
Third-place NCAA World Series finishers Trine and Eastern Connecticut State were the pick of their peers in the Central and New England regions, respectively, while fifth-place finisher Illinois Wesleyan was the Great Lakes honoree, and seventh-place finisher St. Thomas was the pick in the Midwest.
Lynchburg, was the choice in the Atlantic Region while The College of New Jersey earned East honors. Ithaca got the nod again in the Northeast.
These eight coaching staffs move forward to consideration for NFCA Division III National Coaching Staff of the Year, which will be announced on June 17.