The softball Coaching Carousel is a popular topic every summer. Hirings and firings, resignations and retirements; whatever the precursor to a particular move, even small schools and lower divisions catch attention when a coaching transaction happens.
We decided to take a look back at some of the Coaching Carousels of years past. Check out the most recent article in this series here. Next up: The 2014 offseason.
During the summer of 2014, ahead of the 2015 season, 33 Division I schools saw changes in their head coaching roles. This was the highest number of moves on the Carousel since the turn of the decade into the 2010s.
Four Power 5 schools experienced a head coaching change during this offseason; these teams included Ole Miss, Stanford, Maryland, and Texas Tech. For the Rebels of Ole Miss, it was their second head coaching move in a four-year span. This time around, the program brought in Mike Smith, who would ultimately guide the squad to the 2017 SEC tournament title.
Nearly 50% of the head coaches who were hired or elevated to full-time roles during this edition of the Carousel were still in the same positions during the 2020 season. Fifteen coaches completed their sixth seasons on the job in the ultimately-abbreviated 2020 campaign; highlighting the group are Troy’s Beth Mullins; Southeast Missouri’s Mark Redburn; Valparaiso’s Kate Stake; UMass-Lowell’s Danielle Henderson; and South Dakota State’s Krista Wood.
Coaching legend and Hall of Famer Bill Edwards retired during the summer of 2014, and handed the reins of the Hofstra program to Larissa Anderson, who had been his trusted assistant for several years. Edwards earned more than 1,300 wins and fifteen NCAA tournament appearances during his career with the Pride, and Anderson went on to add a pair of conference championships and two NCAA tournament berths during her four years leading the club.
The Stanford Cardinal saw a new head coach for the first time in almost two decades during the 2014 Carousel, following John Rittman’s departure from the program. Rittman recorded a winning season in every year of his tenure, and guided the Cardinal to two Women’s College World Series appearances in eighteen years. He was replaced by former Dartmouth head coach Rachel Hanson, who ultimately spent three years with the program.
Some footnotes on the 2014 Carousel:
- Three coaches who spent the 2014 season as interim head coaches were elevated to their school’s full-time role during this edition of the Carousel. Sacramento State’s Lori Perez was joined in this distinction by Canisius’ Kim Griffin and UMass coach Kristi Stefanoni.
- Ten head coaches that were hired during the 2014 offseason also spent the 2020 season as Division I head coaches, but at different schools.
- A number of coaches who would go on to high-profile positions were initially part of the 2014 Carousel. Larissa Anderson, Cindy Ball, Courtney Scott Deifel, and Shannon Doepking were among the names who took on their inaugural Division I head coaching roles ahead of the 2015 campaign.