Softball: Ninemire and Staff Honored for Success





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After the most successful season in Cal softball history, the Bears' coaching staff received further accolades last week.

Cal softball coach Diane Ninemire, assistant coaches John Reeves and Kim Maher and student assistant Pauline Duenas were named the 2002 Speedline/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year last week.

Ninemire and her staff have coached together for four consecutive years and said the "continuity" has helped the team work well together.

"We all work hand and hand to help student athletes be the best that they can be," said Ninemire.

Ninemire said that the coaching staff was very proud and honored to receive this award to finish out their successful season.

"It's always been a long dream of mine, a personal goal since I started coaching here in 1982 to be number one," she said.

Ninemire said that Cal will become a more attractive school to prospective women softball players as a result of the many awards the program received.

"Cal has always boasted in academics," said Ninemire. "Now we can put that number one next to softball. Students can have the best of both worlds. Women don't have to sacrifice (academics) by going to a lesser school just to play softball."

This year has marked a lot of firsts for the Bears. Along with the national championship, Cal's 56 wins were the most in the program's history. Also this year was the first time any Cal women's program has won a NCAA championship.

This past May, the Cal softball team won it's first ever NCAA championship in the title game of the Women's College World Series.

In their fourth consecutive trip to the WCWS, the Bears unseated defending champion Arizona Wildcats 6-0.

"It's been interesting coaching so many young people along with talented veterans and watch them grow together working for a common purpose out there on the field," said Ninemire. "It's so rewarding as a coach to see your players accomplish that."

The coaching staff selected by their peers at the Speedline Division I Pacific region Coaching Staff of the Year and was then placed on the national coaching staff of the year ballot. They were selected by their colleagues across the country and will be recognized at the NFCA National Convention in St. Petersburg, Fla. in December.

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