Wade Wilson and the Texas Lutheran Bulldogs won the 2019 NCAA Division III National Softball Championship, and Wilson and his coaching staff were named 2019 NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year for NCAA Division III and 2019 NFCA West Region Coaching Staff.
Texas Lutheran (40-8) advanced to its first NCAA championship and went a perfect 5-0 in the 2019 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, 2019 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 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.
After winning the NCAA Division III Softball National Championship in May, TLU received word that the Bulldogs also were national statistical champions in two categories - individual stolen bases per game (Kelly Jurden) and team stolen bases per game.
Jurden, a sophomore from Brenham (Brenham), led all of NCAA Division III in stolen bases, with 61 steals in 63 attempts. She stole the 61 bases in 47 games for an average of 1.30 per game.
With Jurden leading the way, the Bulldogs stole 195 bases in 48 games during the 2019 season. TLU averaged 4.06 steals per contest.
An All-American on the field and in the classroom, Jurden also led the nation in total steals (61) and total stolen base attempts (63). Jurden was one of five players in NCAA DIII to average more than one steal per contest played.
As a team, the Bulldogs were the only team in NCAA DIII to average more than four steals a contest. Only seven teams in all of DIII averaged more than three steals per game.
The Bulldogs had 11 players with at least six steals and five players with 10 or more.
Junior shortstop Cassie Roche (Corpus Christi/Gregory-Portland) was 31-for-31, and freshman second baseman Casey Martin (Pearland/Pearland) was 26-for-29. DeAnna Hernandez (Sugar Land/Dulles), the 2019 NCAA DIII Softball Elite 90 award winner, went 17-for-19.
TLU also finished in the top 10 nationally in team batting average (sixth, .369), on base percentage (second, .453), earned run average (10th, 1.67), and win-loss percentage (seventh, .833).
With Jurden at the top of the stolen bases category, Bulldogs placing in the final Top 25 individual statistical standings also included: Chassety Raines for earned run average (seventh, 1.03), Jurden for hits (14th, 66), Raines for hits allowed per seven innings (18th, 4.45), Jurden for runs per game (seventh, 1.26), and Kayla Oliveira for pitching victories (23rd, 18).
Wilson became the head softball coach at Texas Lutheran University on June 2, 2011. The 2020 campaign will mark the ninth year for Wilson at the helm of the Bulldog program, a softball program he’s built into one of the best in all of NCAA Division III.
Wilson and his coaching staff have received Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors five times (2014-2018).
TLU was the NCAA DIII Seguin Regional runner-up in 2018 and the NCAA DIII Tyler Regional runner-up in 2014, 2016 and 2017. The Bulldogs finished third in the 2015 NCAA DIII Tyler Regional.
In 2018, the Bulldogs produced an overall record of 39-3 after falling in the final game of the NCAA DIII Softball Seguin Regional. The Bulldogs set the new school mark for single-season winning percentage at .929. TLU scored 297 runs (third all-time for a single season) and produced 256 RBI (third all-time), 76 doubles (second all-time), 24 home runs (third all-time), a team slugging percentage of .499 (third all-time), and an on-base percentage of .428 (third all-time).
In 2018, Maitlin Raycroft was named an All-American for the second consecutive year. She followed last season's 21-3 pitching record and eight no-hitters with a mark of 20-1 to go with five more no-hitters. Raycroft has the top two single-season no-hitter totals in NCAA Division III history. She is second all-time in total no-hitters thrown by an NCAA DIII pitcher. When Raycroft started her TLU pitching career in 2017, TLU Softball had 14 no-hitters on the books. TLU Softball now has 27 after 13 no-hitters from Raycroft.
The Bulldogs put six softball players on the 2018 National Fastpitch Coaches Association West Region Team. TLU seniors Kyla Lockley and Raycroft were named to the NFCA West Region First Team.
Sophomore shortstop Cassie Roche and junior utility player Kassie Maddox picked up West Region Second Team honors. Sophomore second baseman Madisyn Cates and freshman outfielder Kelly Jurden were named to the West Region Third Team.
In 2017, the Bulldogs produced an overall record of 38-6 - a mark that included a 38-game win streak during the year. TLU stormed to the SCAC regular-season title and the SCAC tournament championship and finished as the NCAA Division III Tyler Regional runner-up. The Bulldogs were ranked as high as No. 5 in the NFCA softball poll for NCAA DIII. TLU finished the year at No. 10 in the last NFCA poll of the year.
TLU pitcher Maitlin Raycroft set the new NCAA DIII record for no-hitters in a season, with eight during the 2017 season. She finished just one no-hitter off the all-time collegiate record for no-hitters in a season. Raycroft was named a Second Team All-American by the NFCA and a First Team All-American by the FastPitch News. Raycroft was the SCAC Pitcher and Newcomer of the Year.
The TLU Female Student-Athlete of the Year, Raycroft finished the year with a school-record 219 strikeouts in 140-2/3 innings. She walked only 28, and opponents hit just .128 against her. Her final ERA was 1.29.
Fellow pitcher Amanda Lochte was named the 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year, a CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American and the SCAC Woman of the Year.
An exercise science (pre-physical therapy) major with a 3.97 grade-point average, Lochte was selected in late May as the winner of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Division III Academic All-America® of the Year award for softball.
Lochte was the first Bulldog to claim the top national academic honor for a CoSIDA Academic All-America® sport category. By virtue of this award, she is a nominee for the CoSIDA Academic All-America® of the Year award for all of NCAA Division III.
Lochte was the 34th Academic All-America® selection in school history and the third of four Bulldog honorees in the 2016-17 academic year. In the last five academic years, TLU student-athletes have garnered 16 Academic All-America® awards. Of those 16, seven have come from the TLU Softball program.
Lochte earned CoSIDA Academic All-America® First Team honors this season after being named to the second team last year. She earned NFCA All-West Region honors in 2017 after posting a 15-2 record with two saves and a 1.39 ERA in 105.2 innings in the circle.
Lochte ended her career with a 38-4 record and a school-record and conference-record.905 career winning percentage as a pitcher. In 2017, she went 9-0 in conference play with a 1.07 ERA, and she had a win and a save in the SCAC Championship Tournament.
Raycroft was one of five Bulldogs to pick up All-Region awards from the NFCA. Senior center fielder Kaymee Gooden and junior third baseman Kyla Lockley were named to the All-Region Second Team, and Lochte and senior utility player Kirsten Whiteside were At-Large selections to the All-Region Third Team.
Gooden, the SCAC Co-Player of the Year, hit .380 with a team-best eight home runs. She added nine doubles and six triples, and she stole 31 bases in 35 attempts. In just two years with the Bulldogs, Gooden moved into third all-time in school history for home runs (13), and she ended her career fifth all-time in batting average, at .375, and third in stolen bases, with 60.
Gooden finished her TLU career as the all-time leader in slugging percentage, at .652. Her 38 RBI this season were eighth all-time for a single season. She had 43 RBI, the sixth-most in school history, last season. Her eight home runs in 2017 were one off the school record of nine, set last year by Heather Hummel. Gooden's 31 steals this year were the fourth-most in a single season in TLU Softball history.
Gooden and the Bulldogs led the nation in steals per game, at 4.39. The 193 steals in 2017 were a new school record (since broken by the 2019 team). TLU stole 193 bases in 213 attempts.
With NFCA All-American first baseman Taylor Yancey leading the way, TLU finished 2016 with an overall record of 43-5. Yancey, the 2016 TLU Co-Female Student-Athlete of the Year, was named to the NFCA All-America Third Team as an At-Large selection.
Yancey claimed the All-America honor after grabbing her second career All-Region accolade. She was named to the 2016 First Team All-West Region after earning a Third Team selection in 2014. Yancey's Bulldog career ended with her owning TLU career marks for doubles (66) and RBI (141).
In 2016, Yancey set single-season school records for batting average (.476), doubles (25), RBI (54) and hits (69). Her hits total of 69 tied Ashley Jacobsen's single-season record, first set in 2013 and set again in 2014.
The 2016 Bulldogs ended their year with numerous school marks, including team marks for: batting average (.384), slugging percentage (.544), on-base percentage (.449), stolen bases (164-for-178), doubles (104), home runs (25), and walks (149).
In the final NCAA DIII Softball statistical rankings, TLU led the nation in on-base percentage and finished second in stolen bases per game (3.42), batting average (.384) and won-loss percentage (.896).
The Bulldogs also finished in the DIII top-10 for doubles per game (7th, 2.17), scoring (5th, 7.81), slugging percentage (5th, .544), and stolen bases per game (3.42).
Yancey's and her senior classmates combined for an overall record of 146-32 with a conference record of 89-4.
The seniors won one American Southwest Conference West Division title, three SCAC Championships (regular-season and conference tournament titles) and played in three consecutive NCAA regionals.
The 2016 Bulldogs finished the year at No. 10 in the final NCAA Division III softball rankings by the NFCA. The Bulldogs reached as high as No. 3 in the NFCA rankings. TLU held the No. 3 spot for four consecutive weeks.
The 2016 Bulldogs also excelled in the classroom by joining a rare group of collegiate softball programs to produce three Academic All-Americans in one year. TLU put Taylor Grissom and Nicole Snow on the CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team and Amanda Lochte on the CoSIDA Academic All-America Second Team.
TLU Softball has had at least one Academic All-American in five of the last six years (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019). A total of eight Bulldog softball players have earned the national honor in that time span.
In the 2013 season, Wilson led TLU to an American Southwest Conference West Division Championship - the second in school history.
In 2014, Wilson coached the Bulldogs to an outstanding 33-9 record and an absolutely dominant conference campaign in the SCAC that saw them finish 21-1, outscoring SCAC opponents 194-29.
The Bulldogs ran through the 2014 SCAC Championship, finishing the tournament on a 14-inning shutout streak and earning the program's first NCAA Division III Tournament appearance. The Bulldogs weren't satisfied with just getting to the tournament though, they opened it up with a thrilling 2-1 extra-inning win over then-No. 3 Texas-Tyler - the regional host.
TLU ended the 2015 season at No. 20 in the final National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III Top 25 Poll. The Bulldogs received 53 total voting points in the closing poll of 2015.
The 2015 Bulldogs became the first softball team in school history to go undefeated in conference play.
TLU in 2015 also set then school records for single-season runs (292), RBI (251), batting average (.366), wins (37), and consecutive wins (33).
In 2015, Wilson and his staff were again honored with the Coach of the Year award, and the Bulldogs picked up SCAC Player of the Year (Jennifer Gallagher) and SCAC Pitcher of the Year (Taylor Grissom).
In 2016, TLU again swept the major SCAC awards with Wilson winning Coach of the Year, Grissom claiming her third SCAC Pitcher of the year award, and Yancey receiving Player of the Year honors.
In 2013, Wilson also helped Megan Carmichael earn the ASC West Division Pitcher of the Year. Ashley Jacobsen collected the West Division Newcomer of the Year after the 2012 campaign.
Wilson's first season with the Bulldogs was the 2012 season, in which the Bulldogs went 19-19 overall and produced a 13-11 mark in the ASC West Division. TLU tied for third in the ASC West and missed out on the conference tournament by virtue of a tiebreaker.
Wilson came to TLU after a successful head coaching run at Brenham High School in Brenham, Texas. Wilson coached the Brenham varsity softball team for nine seasons, 2003 to 2011, and led the Cubettes to the 2005 Class 4A State Championship.
“I am very honored to be the new coach at Texas Lutheran,” Wilson said at the time of his hiring. “This certainly will be a challenge, and I have a lot to prove. Coaching at the college level has always been a dream of mine. I was looking for the right fit for me and for my family.”
“I feel I have put in my time at the high school level, and I wanted the challenge of building a college program. I have been fortunate to coach two great high school programs, and I feel that this is a great opportunity. My family and I are very excited to get started.”
Wilson was the Class 4A Associated Press Coach of the Year in 2005. The Cubettes were ranked in the Class 4A Top 10 for nine consecutive seasons. In addition to winning the state title in 2005, Brenham reached the state semifinals in 2007, the regional semifinals in 2003, and the regional quarterfinals in 2004, 2006, and 2008. Brenham went 27-8 in 2011 and advanced to the Class 4A Bi-District playoffs.
Wilson, a native of Cuero, Texas, also coached varsity softball at Sinton High School in Sinton, Texas for the 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 seasons. Sinton made Class 3A State Tournament semifinal appearances in 1999 and 2001.
At Sinton, Wilson coached eventual TLU stand-out pitcher Amanda Stevens, who still holds TLU school records for career wins (58) and consecutive scoreless innings (59-2/3). Stevens was the 2004 ASC West Pitcher of the Year and the 2004 ASC West Player of the Year.
Wilson posted a high school record of 383-71-6 in his 13 seasons as a head coach. His high school winning percentage stands at .839. Wilson was the fastest coach to reach 300 wins in Texas high school softball. He coached 11 high school NFCA All-Americans and two Golden Spike Award winners.
“Wade Wilson brings great coaching credentials and experience to our softball program, and we are thrilled that he has agreed to be our next softball coach,” Director of Athletics Bill Miller said at the time of Wilson's hiring. “I know Wade can’t wait to get started, and we can’t wait to have him here on the job. We think he is a great fit for our university and our athletics department.”