Head Coach Gayle Blevins is in her 23rd season at the University of Iowa and her 31st season as a collegiate head coach. Blevins enters the 2009 season as the second winningest coach in Division I history with a record of 1,220-565-5.
As a head coach, Blevins has led her teams to seven Women's College World Series appearances (four at Iowa), won eight Big Ten titles (five at Iowa) been named both the Big Ten and National Coach of the Year, and has been inducted into both the Indiana University and NFCA Hall of Fame. Blevins enters the 2009 season as the Big Ten's winningest coach with 496 conference wins.
Blevins became Iowa's head coach in 1987 and immediately produced success. Just two years after Blevins took over a struggling program at Iowa, the Hawkeyes secured their first-ever Big Ten title and their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. The 1989 Hawkeyes finished the season ranked ninth in the nation, the first time an Iowa team had ever been nationally ranked.
Blevins built on that success and in 1990, the Hawkeyes won another Big Ten title and produced the school's first All-American in Diane Pohl.
The 1995 season proved to be an extraordinary one for Blevins and her Hawkeye squad. After receiving an at-large big to the NCAA Tournament, the Hawkeyes became the nation's Cinderella story. Iowa advanced to its first NCAA Women's College World Series after defeating No. 8 Cal State Sacramento, 3-0, and twice beating No. 5 Fresno State (1-0 and 2-1 in nine innings). At the World Series, the Hawkeyes lost to No. 2 UCLA but rallied back to beat No. 9 Michigan, 9-7 in 14 innings and No. 3 Cal State Fullerton, 6-5 in nine innings. Unfortunately, the Hawkeyes fell short in their quest for a national championship, losing to UCLA in the national semifinals.
The 1996 Hawkeyes paved their way to a second-consecutive appearance in the Women's College World Series by winning the Mideast Regional held in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes finished third in the nation after losing to eventual national champion Arizona.
After a 52-9 record and a No. 5 national ranking, the 1997 Hawkeyes made its third-consecutive appearance at the Women's College World Series. During the regular season, Iowa marched through the Big Ten schedule with a perfect 22-0 record, marking the first and only time in conference history that a Big Ten team has completed the conference schedule undefeated.
Iowa returned to Oklahoma City and the Women's College World Series for the fourth time in school history in 2001. Blevins guided the Hawkeyes to a 49-14 record and a Big Ten Tournament Championship.
The 2002 season marked another milestone for Coach Blevins. While competing in the National Invitational Softball Tournament, Iowa defeated eventual NCAA Champion California to give Blevins her 900th career NCAA Division I victory. She was just the fourth coach to reach that mark in NCAA Division I history.
In 2003, Blevins coached the Hawkeyes to both the Big Ten Regular Season and Tournament Championships, the first time an Iowa team had captured both in the same season. She also took the Hawkeyes to the Lincoln, NE, Regional Championship game.
Blevins eclipsed the 1,000 win mark during the 2004 season with a 9-1, six-inning victory over Coe College. With the historic win, Blevins became only the third Division I coach to reach 1,000 wins. The win was also her 700th at Iowa.
In 2005, Blevins led the Hawkeyes to their third 50-win season in school history and their sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, where they advanced to the Lincoln, NE, NCAA Regional Championship game.
The Hawkeyes finished 2006 with a 39-22 overall record and were selected as a host site for the 2006 NCAA Regional tournament.
Blevins reached the 1,100 win mark in 2007 with an 11-0 win over Howard in the season opener. The Hawkeyes finished with a 37-21 record including a 10-7 record in conference play, which was good enough for a fourth place finish.
Blevins led Iowa to both the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Regional Championship game in 2008, finishing with a 42-20 overall record. The Hawkeyes were selected to host an NCAA Regional for the eighth time in school history, all under Blevins.
Blevins became the second winningest coach in NCAA softball history during the 2009 season, leading Iowa to a 42-16 overall record. She picked up win No. 1,219, to move into second place, with a 2-0 victory over Minnesota May 9. Blevins led the Hawkeyes to their 16th NCAA Tournament appearance as well.
Under her direction, Iowa has finished in the top three in the Big Ten Conference every year but four from 1989-2009 and in 1989, 1990, 1997, 2000 and 2003 her squads captured the Big Ten Conference title. A Blevins coached team has never finished lower than fifth in the conference.
Blevins was one of the first coaches in the country to effectively use the "slap style" hitting as an exciting offensive weapon. One of her student-athletes was the first-ever slapper chosen as a first team all-American in 1983. Blevins is one of the nations best at using the speed game.
Blevins came to the University of Iowa after a successful career at Indiana University, where she led the Hoosiers from 1980-87 and compiled an impressive 301-146 (.670) record. She led Indiana to the Women's College World Series three times where they finished third in 1986, fifth in 1983 and second in 1980, when the series was a part of the AIAW.
Blevins, a native of Dayton, OH, is a 1973 graduate of the University of Dayton. After graduating cum laude with a degree in health and physical education, she taught and coached at Dayton's Stebbins High School. Five years later she went on to Indiana University where she earned her master's degree in administration while serving as IU's assistant softball coach. She was named Indiana's head coach during the 1979-80 season. She moved to Iowa during the 1986-87 season and is only the third head softball coach in Hawkeye school history.