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Debating with your friends who’s the best Softball coach?

Carol Hutchins, Mike Candrea, or Sue Enquist?

Here is our list of the best Softball coaches of all time.

Do you agree with our picks?

Best Softball Coaches:

  1. Carol Hutchins
  2. Mike Candrea
  3. Sue Enquist
  4. Margie Wright
  5. Patty Gasso

#1 Carol Hutchins

  • πŸ† Achievements: NCAA National Champion, multiple Big Ten Conference titles
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1985–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: University of Michigan
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Carol Hutchins is regarded as one of the trailblazers in women’s collegiate softball, having built a powerhouse program at the University of Michigan. Under her guidance, the Wolverines secured their first Women’s College World Series title in 2005, making them the first program east of the Mississippi River to win the championship.

Hutchins’ remarkable tenure with Michigan is marked not only by the number of wins but also by her dedication to the development of her players. Her emphasis on creating a positive and competitive culture is mirrored in the consistent success of the team, including numerous Big Ten titles and NCAA tournament appearances.

As a testament to her leadership and contribution to the sport, Hutchins has been recognized with multiple Coach of the Year awards, and her presence in the game has inspired countless young athletes and coaches.

#2 Mike Candrea

  • πŸ† Achievements: 8 NCAA National Championships, numerous conference titles
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1985–2021
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: University of Arizona
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Mike Candrea ended his illustrious coaching career being the most successful coach in NCAA softball history in terms of national championships. During his time at the University of Arizona, he led the Wildcats to eight Women’s College World Series titles, cementing his legacy in collegiate softball.

Candrea’s impact on the sport extends beyond his remarkable winning record. He has been instrumental in promoting softball nationwide and has also served as the head coach for the USA Softball Women’s National team, earning an Olympic gold medal in 2004 and a silver in 2008.

His coaching philosophy has always centered around bringing out the best in his players, on and off the field. His retirement marked the end of an era, leaving behind a legacy of excellence and a template for future coaches to aspire to.

#3 Sue Enquist

  • πŸ† Achievements: 11 NCAA National Championships, including as a player and coach
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1989–2006
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Sue Enquist’s name is synonymous with softball excellence, in large part due to her tenure with UCLA, where she became one of the sport’s most decorated coaches. Over her storied career, Enquist accumulated a total of 11 NCAA National Championships with the Bruins, a testament to her exceptional leadership and coaching prowess.

Known for her fierce competitiveness and strategic mind, Enquist has been a pivotal figure in establishing UCLA as a perennial softball powerhouse. Her efforts have been acknowledged through numerous coaching awards and she has consistently been a positive role model for young female athletes.

Enquist’s influence extended beyond the diamond, as she has been a vocal advocate for women’s sports and continues to contribute to the sport through speaking engagements and clinics, sharing her deep knowledge and passion for the game.

#4 Margie Wright

  • πŸ† Achievements: NCAA National Champion, all-time wins leader in NCAA Division I softball (at the time of her retirement)
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1980–2012
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Illinois State University, Fresno State University
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Margie Wright’s coaching career is highlighted by her tenure at Fresno State University, where she built an elite program and captured the NCAA National Championship in 1998. At the time of her retirement, she held the record for most wins in NCAA Division I softball, a tribute to her sustained success and the respect she garnered within the sport.

Wright’s Bulldogs were known for their tenacity and fundamental play, qualities that Wright instilled in her teams throughout her career. Her influence helped Fresno State become a nationally recognized name in collegiate softball.

Dedicated not only to winning but also to the personal and academic success of her student-athletes, Wright’s legacy is reflected in the accolades of her players and the community impact she made throughout her career. Her retirement left behind a lasting influence on the sport and those she coached.

#5 Patty Gasso

  • πŸ† Achievements: Multiple NCAA National Championships, numerous Big 12 Conference titles
  • πŸ“… Years Active: 1995–Present
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: University of Oklahoma
  • 🌐 Nationality: American

Patty Gasso has asserted herself as one of the premier coaches in collegiate softball, leading the University of Oklahoma to multiple NCAA National Championships. Her tenure at OU has been distinguished by a winning culture and consistently high-performing teams that dominate the Big 12 Conference.

Gasso’s coaching style blends motivation with strategic savvy, and her impact is evident in the number of players who have achieved All-American honors and moved on to professional softball careers. She emphasizes character development and champions a holistic approach to coaching that prioritizes the student-athlete experience.

The evolution of the Oklahoma softball program under Gasso’s leadership has been remarkable, allowing them to stand toe-to-toe with the most storied programs in history. Her continued pursuit of excellence keeps the Sooners at the forefront of collegiate softball year after year.

Learn from the best, and then put that knowledge to the test by understanding the common softball injuries and how to prevent them.


Who is the greatest softball coach of all time?

Sue Enquist is often considered the greatest softball coach of all time, with 11 national championships at UCLA.

Who was the most successful softball coach?

Mike Candrea was the most successful softball coach, leading Arizona to 8 national championships and over 1600 career wins.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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