LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The NFCA has announced seven new members to the Association’s Board of Directors who will officially begin their three-year tenures January 1, 2021. Board members are elected by the membership. Additionally, the NFCA announced its new committee members for 2021.
In September, New York University head coach Now-Allah James replaced Todd Buckingham as the Vice President for Membership. James will finish out the final year of the term and be eligible to run for the position in the 2021 election. Buckingham vacated the role created for a non-Division I coach following his hiring at a Division I institution.
Missouri head coach Larissa Anderson remains on the Executive Board, moving from Vice President for Publications to Vice President for Awards. Moving into the Publications position vacated by Anderson is Indiana head coach Shonda Stanton.
Memphis head coach Natalie Poole returns as the NCAA Division I representative having served in the role on a previous occasion. Joining the board for the first time as representatives are Big Bend Community College head coach Michael Garoutte (NWAC), Francis Marion assistant coach Stephanie Bagwell (Assistant Coach), and former Kent State head coach Karen Linder (Emeriti).
New Executive Board Members
Now-Allah James (Head Coach, New York University) – Vice President, Membership
Now-Allah James has been at the helm of the New York University softball team since its debut as a varsity program in 2014-15. Over his first six seasons, James’ teams have posted a 101-96 overall record. He steered the Violets to the ECAC Division III Metro Championship in 2016, which was also the same season NYU earned its first University Athletic Association (UAA) victory. Under his guidance, 17 players have garnered UAA honors, while four have taken home NFCA All-Region accolades.
Larissa Anderson (Head Coach, Missouri) – Vice President, Awards
Larissa Anderson enters year three as Missouri’s head coach. She has led Mizzou to a 54-32 record in her year and a half tenure, and owns a career record of 184-105-1 as a head coach. Anderson finished her first year with a 35-25 record and 12 wins in Southeastern Conference play, earning the Tigers a fourth-place finish. Additionally, she guided the Tigers to the if-necessary game of the NCAA Regional final against eventual national champion UCLA.
Shonda Stanton (Head Coach, Indiana) – Vice President, Publications
Stanton, who begins her fourth year in 2021, has made an immediate impact on the Indiana softball program. In her first season, Stanton guided the Hoosiers to a third-place Big Ten finish and 17 league wins, the most since 2011. Additionally, IU reached the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2006. In 2019, she steered Indiana to its best start (14-0) in program history and a 36-21 mark (most victories since 2001), while the Hoosiers set a school record with 141 stolen bases. Stanton previously served on the NFCA Division I All-America Committee.
New Divisional Representatives
Stephanie Bagwell (Assistant Coach, Francis Marion) – Assistant Coach Representative
Stephanie Bagwell will start her third season as an assistant coach with Francis Marion in 2021. The Patriots posted a 31-win campaign in her first season and was off to a 24-3 start in the shortened 2020 season. She came to FMU from Northwest Missouri State, where she spent two seasons as a graduate assistant coach for the Bearcat softball program. During her two seasons, the Bearcats compiled a 56-40 mark and boasted 12 Mid-America Athletic Association All-Conference selections and the program’s first NFCA first-team All-American. Bagwell is a member on the NFCA’s Hall of Fame Committee.
Michael Garoutte (Head Coach, Big Bend Community College) – NWAC Representative
Collegiate and prep softball coaching veteran Michael Garoutte joined Big Bend in 2018 and enters his fourth season in charge of the Vikings. Prior to Big Bend, Garoutte steered Wenatchee Valley Community College to a NWAC Tournament title in 2017. With over 20 years of coaching experience, Garoutte has made head-coaching stops at Kalamazoo College (NCAA DIII) and Yuma High School, while serving two different stints at Central Washington University (associate head and assistant coach) and assistant coach at Eastern Oregon University. He was a member of the U.S. Navy All-Navy Fastpitch Softball Team from 1988 to 1991.
Karen Linder (Kent State, ret.) – Emeriti Representative
Linder enjoyed a 32-year college coaching career and built a national reputation during her 19 seasons at Kent State. In her final 10 years, Linder led the Golden Flashes to seven Mid-American Conference (MAC) East Division and four regular-season titles, and two MAC tournament championships. In 30 years of coaching fastpitch softball, Linder collected 803 victories, 550 at Kent State and tutored six NFCA All-Americans. The winningest coach in Kent State history earned four MAC Coach of the Year honors and led the Golden Flashes to a pair of NCAA Tournaments.
Prior to Kent State, Linder led Ashland University (NCAA II) to 253 triumphs and a pair of conference titles and spent three seasons as Union College’s (Ky.) head coach. During her time as an active head coach, Linder served on the NFCA’s Division I Head Coaches, All-America and Poll Committees. Currently, Linder runs Aspire Higher Sports, which focuses on helping athletes grow mentally and physically while focusing on a winning team mentality. Additionally, she provides lessons and is involved in clinics and All-American Games (12U) for USA Softball in Ohio.
Natalie Poole (Head Coach, Memphis) – NCAA Division I Representative
Natalie Poole starts her ninth season at the helm of the University of Memphis softball program and 19th year overall as a head coach. In her head coaching tenure, she has compiled 512 wins and guided two teams to the NCAA Regionals. During her eight years, Poole has mentored 18 all-conference selections, 67 NFCA All-America Scholar-Athletes and 92 all-academic members.
In addition to the Board of Directors, the NFCA is announcing new committee members for 2021. Due to the cancellation of 2020 NFCA All-America awards, committee members received an additional year of service to their terms. New in 2021, NJCAA Division I and II will have six representatives, adding one member to each of their three regions.
2021 NFCA Board of Directors (Effective Jan. 1, 2021)
Bold denotes new members
President – Kate Drohan, Northwestern University
Past President – Karen Weekly, University of Tennessee
Vice President, Awards – Larissa Anderson, University of Missouri
Vice President, Membership – Now-Allah James, New York University
Vice President, Education – Heather Tarr, University of Washington
Vice President, Publications – Shonda Stanton, University of Indiana
Vice President, Playing Rules – Boo De Oliveira, Purdue University
Division I – Natalie Poole, University of Memphis
Division II – Gretta Melsted, Augustana University
Division III – Renae Hartl, Luther College
NAIA – Kat Ihlenburg, Georgia Gwinnett College
NJCAA – Darin Monroe, Rock Valley College
Cal JC – Darci Brownell, Sierra College
NWAC – Michael Garoutte, Big Bend Community College
High School – Enrique Luna, Bryan High School (Texas)
Travel Ball – Kevin Shelton, Texas Glory
Assistant Coach – Lindsay Leftwich, Louisiana State University
Assistant Coach – Stephanie Bagwell, Francis Marion University
Emeriti – Karen Linder, Kent State University (ret.)
New Committee Members (Effective Jan. 1, 2021)
* Positions still to be filled
NJCAA DI All-American* – Kelly Raines (Howard College / West)
NJCAA DII All-American* – Heather Doty (Illinois Central / Midwest), Andy Kirk (Itawamba CC / South)
Cal JC and NWAC All-American - TBA
High School All-American
North Region - Perry Peterson (Barrington [Ill.]), Ronald Poyer (Chesaning Union [Mich.]
South Region – John Russell (Southern [N.C.], Milton Simmons [Essex [Va.])
South Central Region – Kevin Halley (St. Pius X [Mo.])
Awards – Chris Malveaux (Missouri), Vincent Martinez (McLane High School [Calif.])
Ethics – Fran Troyan (Lehigh), Amanda Reckamp (Minnesota State, Moorhead)
Events – Monique White (Georgetown), Cindy Bristow (UC Riverside), Kris Herman (Williams), Cate Simon (Evansville North [Ill.])
Hall of Fame – Jacquie Joseph (Michigan State), Emlyn Knerem (Ashland), Karen Baird (Lawrence Tech)
Mentoring – Todd Bradley (Alabama State), Jennifer Fuller (Northern State), Monica Harrison (Carnegie Mellon), Curtis Cole (Knockouts Fastpitch)
Playing Rules – Kyle Gross (Hillsdale), Ryan Konitzer (UW–Stevens Point), Jay Kahnt (Ottawa [Kan.]), Terry Wagner (Milwaukee Area Technical), Megan Corriea (Southwestern Oregon CC), Doug Hageman (LeRoy High School [Ill.], Chet Schrader (Illusions Gold)
Publications – Chris Malveaux (Missouri), Melvin Jenkins (John Tyler High School [Texas]), P.J. McClure (Tenacity Fastpitch)