With a national title in hand, the Oklahoma softball coaching staff has been selected by the National Fastpitch Association as the 2013 NFCA Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year.
Head coach Patty Gasso, associate head coach Melyssa Lombardi, assistant coach Tripp MacKay and director of operations Sharon Bell took home the honor after guiding the Sooners to a 57-4 record and the second national championship in program history.
Gasso’s staff, which included Lombardi, was also tabbed the nation’s best in 2000 after the Sooners won the first national title in school history.
Throughout the season, Oklahoma was the best and most dominant team in the country and it reached its peak as it entered the postseason.
Oklahoma was a perfect 10-0 in the NCAA tournament and outscored its opponents 91-16. Facing Tennessee in the championship series, OU claimed a dramatic game one victory with a 5-3, 12-inning come-from-behind win. In game two, Michelle Gascoigne struck out 12 while Keilani Ricketts drove in all the runs in a 4-0 victory.
The Sooners were ranked No. 1 by ESPN.com/USA Softball for 15 straight weeks to end the season, while the USA Today/NFCA poll put Oklahoma on top for the final 11 weeks. Six times this season OU was a unanimous No. 1, including the final polls.
In addition to being named the USA Softball Player of the Year for the second straight season, Ricketts was honored with the Honda Cup, given to the nation’s top female collegiate athlete.
Ricketts was one of four All-Americans, joining Lauren Chamberlain, Brianna Turang and Shelby Pendley. Those four were also named All-Region along with Gascoigne and Destinee Martinez.