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Season Recap and Looking Forward

Warning! Channeling my inner @Grizfan-24 energy here with the post length! 😅

Using my vast google searching of "D2 Softball Schools, California" here are the ones I could find info about and I've taken the liberty of grouping them as "more likely" and "less likely" targets. This is just straight-up speculation on my part. BUT! Here we go!

More Likely:

Brie Campbell - just wrapped up best season ever for the program, 44 wins and had 39 wins in 2022. Their program has played regionalish to MT programs, southern oregon and carroll college - spent all of playing career and coaching career so far in CA

Angel Shamblin - 15 years at current program, excellent 423-232 record. Since 2016 her record has been 247-102 a .707 winning percentage. The season after covid lead a team with 13 freshman to a 37-17 record.

Geena Garabedian - not much info, but at previous D2 stop, lead team to highest win total in prog history and has coached multiple travel ball age groups in Fresno and Oakland

Carrie Webber - lots of experience at D2 and 5 years at a JC. Overall record of 610-432 - last 3 years has won 35, 34 and 31 games in 2010's high watermarks of 42-11, 40-19 and 40-12

Dee Payan - has been an HC since 2019 - so has experience with Covid fallout/pivoting - okay record - 93-80

Clair Sua-Amundson - 10 years of D1 experience (Cal Poly, Stanford, CSU-Fullerton) spent time as associate hc at Stanford, played college at UCLA. Been HC since 2016, not a great record of 86-144

Less Likely:

Crystal Rosenthal heads up this group because they've been there forever and are also the schools AD - I doubt movement happens here - has been HC since 2009, overall record of 693-181-2, last 4 years has won 34, 46, 48 and 39 games

Jennifer Bridges another that has been at their program forever - 13 years as HC at current school, 429-236-1 overall record. Went 42-18 in 2022. No data for 2023.

Aja Scheuber - looks to have been a HC for only a couple years so far, lower winning percentage but some D1 assistant experience

Megan Corriea - unlikely just hired at current program but won coach of the year 4 times (2012, 2017, 2021, 2023) as the HC at southwestern oregon

Juliana Santos - been hc since 2016 - looks like overall record isn't great, but hard to tell because there isn't much info

Skylynne Ellazar - only 1 year at current position, 13-27 record

Alicia Reid - been HC since 2017, overall record of 126-118 - best year was 2019 with a 39-20 record. 2022 was 23-30, 2023 was 27-23.
Great research. Dee Payan link goes to UM Transportation, so she must be the leader in the clubhouse. 😉
I will say this: only two pitchers is unworkable. I know most DI players pitched at some point, so if we can’t get pitchers in via transfer or matriculation, we have to get some players throwing in the cage yesterday to make sure we have another two-plus pitchers. Just my opinion.
Idk why people won’t say who the finalists are if they know who they are. I find that to be a bit selfish, especially since we’re all behind screen names and no one knows anyone’s real names on here
Full disclosure, I have no clue who finalists are - I just did google-fu research on D2 softball progs in CA and then looked at the female HCs.
Who is leading workouts? I doubt there’s a DI softball player in the country that isn’t putting in work right now. Would be pretty cool if we could hire a coaching staff.
Who is leading workouts? I doubt there’s a DI softball player in the country that isn’t putting in work right now. Would be pretty cool if we could hire a coaching staff.
Christ idk what’s taking so long. Hopefully they’ve made a decision by now and the players know but they just can’t announce it until all the internal HR stuff is taken care of
I have heard literally nothing over the past two weeks as to where in the process they were. I know that as of Friday the CSS posting was still up, but this morning it has appeared to have been archived.

I'd think we'd hear something soon if that was the case. I am unsure of how many candidates they interviewed in Missoula (heard 2-4) but if it was at the upper end of that number it would make sense the first and second round (if necessary) interviews would have taken a bit longer.

I do know one of the concerns was regardless of whenever they made the hire, was the ability to bring staff and knowledge of the portal to bring in reinforcements. Now that the official portal has closed (may open up again as soon as they announce a new coach), they have until the first week of school to fill out a roster. I've heard anywhere between 5-10 open spots between graduations, retirements and departures. That is purely speculation though.
Since we've all been pondering and speculating about why the Montana GrizSB coaching search has taken so long (and has been so "secret") here's my 2-bits worth: The short- and long-term health of Montana softball is at stake. Montana may (nay... likely) require a "ground-up" rebuild and needs a coach and staff that can do so in all areas (starting with recruiting).

I'm more of a scorebook and stats hound than I am an evaluator of talent and game strategy. The stats tell a worrisome picture: This season, admission-paying fans showed signs of abandoning the program. Some very base figures:
* 2023 Montana per-game attendance: 513
* 2024 Montana per-game attendance: 342

The irony is 2024's 342 figure is still very good compared to other western softball stats. For Instance, Montana's 342 attendance average (5142 season total) far out-paced the numbers of ALL of its road games: (184/4805). Also telling: No other Big Sky program, nor the Big Sky Conf. posts attendance figures. That usually means that attendance is "not worth" counting, and in some cases "not worth charging admission for." This is important, because in base figures, at $10 per ticket, Montana grossed $51,410 in paid attendance money this year alone.

So... I'm speculating that the powers that be in Montana Athletics recognize that its softball program far outpaces most western D1 schools in fan support (as it does in all of its other sports) both in attendance and moolah. They need to get it right, even if it takes some time (finding a coach); even if it takes a year or so to build a competitive team.
I think end of last week from what I gathered. The candidate may have given them their answer over the weekend and may have been finalized today. Both candidates would have been excellent choices as they really did check all the boxes that we identified as being important. California recruiting connections, experience with recruiting at the D1 level, and building programs.

I'd think we'd have an announcement tomorrow.
No, just replacing the turf. We don't have the early season weather for dirt. I heard a while back they would do this when they put in the turf for the bubble,
I was just going to post that I hope it's new turf (even though I think it plays slower) because dirt in our spring climate could present issues. Thanks for the info. 🤙