Ninemire Inducted Into NFCA Hall of Fame
Dec. 13, 2009
BERKELEY - California softball head coach Diane Ninemire was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association's 2009 Hall of Fame class on Friday evening. Ninemire, who joined Frank Cheek of Humboldt State University and Bill Edwards of Hofstra University, was inducted in front of the NFCA, former Golden Bears, her colleagues and family members at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.
Since her first year in the dugout in 1988, Diane Ninemire has continually taken the Bears to new heights as one of the winningest and most successful softball programs in the nation. From 1999-2005, Cal made seven straight trips to the College World Series. With a national championship, nine Women's College World Series trips, and 21 straight NCAA Regional appearances to her credit, it is no wonder that Cal enters every season as a national contender.
Ninemire, who won her 900th career game on Feb. 29, 2008 versus Long Beach State, has accumulated the second-most wins in Pac-10 history (970) and is the 11th softball coach in NCAA history with 900 or more wins. Since the 1999 season, California is an impressive 527-225, with five 50-win seasons and four 40-win seasons. Over the last six seasons, Ninemire's squad has posted a 268-120 mark.
During Ninemire's tenure at Cal, 35 All-America, 86 all-region and 146 all-conference certificates have been issued to Golden Bear athletes. Two of Ninemire's former players - Michele Granger and Gillian Boxx - were four-time All-Americans and helped the United States win a gold medal as members of the 1996 Olympic Team in Atlanta. Former California Golden Bear Vicky Galindo, whom Ninemire coached, was the most recent Cal softball player named to an Olympic team roster when she earned a spot on the 15-member U.S. squad in 2008.
History was made in 2002 when Ninemire helped direct Cal to its first NCAA Championship at the WCWS with a 6-0 win over the Arizona Wildcats, the first women's team title in Cal athletic program history. The 2002 team set a school record for wins (56), while Jocelyn Forest claimed the tournament's Most Outstanding Player honor, and Ninemire was chosen as the NFCA National Coach of the Year. Cal became the first Pac-10 team other than UCLA and Arizona to win the softball national title. Forest went undefeated in Cal's postseason run and completed the WCWS with a 4-0 record, 0.50 earned run average and 33 strikeouts in 28.0 innings.
Ninemire has enjoyed plenty of other memorable moments along her career path. In 2005, Cal won a share of the Pac-10 title (a first for a Ninemire squad) and advanced to its seventh consecutive WCWS. The 2004 version of the Bears were one of Ninemire's most successful and most decorated groups, as four All-Americans and eight All-Pac-10 selections helped drive Cal to its third consecutive WCWS championship game appearance. In 2001, Cal began the season 32-0 before finishing fifth at the WCWS. Under Ninemire, Cal has also finished third (1999), fifth (1992, 1996) and seventh (2000) at the WCWS.
In her 22nd year at the helm of the Bears in 2009, Ninemire guided Cal to the postseason for the 24th consecutive season, the second-longest streak in the nation and the longest in the Pac-10. The Bears won their NCAA Regional at Florida State before falling at top-seeded Florida in the Super Regionals. Over the course of the year, the Bears broke team records for stolen bases (146) and home runs (55).