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TLU Softball coaching staff named NFCA DIII National Coaching Staff of the Year

TLU Softball - 2019 National Champions
TLU Softball - 2019 National Champions

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.

Led by Head Coach Wade Wilson and assistants Olivia Van Hook, Dennis Moe and Ed Zarzabal, Texas Lutheran (40-8) advanced to its first NCAA championship and went a perfect 5-0 in the finals to claim the first Division III softball crown in school history.

The national championship was TLU's first team championship as a member of the NCAA Division III. The national title was TLU's first since a women's volleyball national championship in the AIAW-II in 1976. TLU has won five team national championships and seven other individual or relay national championships.

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, TLU went undefeated in the NCAA Marshall (Texas) Regional and 2-1 against Linfield College at the McMinnville (Ore.) Super Regional.

Add their three victories en route to their sixth-straight Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships, and the Bulldogs were 13-1 overall in the postseason this year.

TLU 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 times), Transylvania University (twice), Trine University, and Williams College.

Wilson just completed his eighth season as head coach of the Bulldogs. He holds an overall mark of 282-66 (.810) with the Bulldogs. Wilson is the all-time wins record holder at TLU and is the most successful coach by winning percentage for any sport in school history.

In conference play, with two seasons in the American Southwest Conference and six seasons in the SCAC, Wilson has a 164-16 (.911) mark in league play. In the SCAC alone, Wilson is 129-3 (.977).

With Wilson as head coach, TLU has won six consecutive SCAC tournaments. The Bulldogs are 19-1 all-time in SCAC tournament play.

TLU has played in six consecutive NCAA Division III Softball Championships. The Bulldogs are 17-11 all-time in NCAA postseason games. TLU has played in six consecutive NCAA regional rounds. The Bulldogs advanced to the Super Regional and World Series rounds this year for the first time in school history.

The Bulldogs were 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).