College Softball's Top Coaches Heading Into 2023
Just as the level of play in college softball has vastly improved throughout its history, so has the coaching of the game.
At nearly every division the sport has at the college level, much of the coaching that exists heading into the 2023 season is elite, as coaches are well-versed in the ins and outs of the game and the advanced scouting that takes place in softball these days.
Below, we took a look at the top five head coaches at the Division I level of college softball based both on what they've accomplished in their careers recently and in the past.
Gasso is in her 29th season at the helm of the University of Oklahoma's softball program. She is a Hall of Fame head coach with six national championships to her name to date. Gasso is also the winner of more Big 12 games than any coach in league history and has twice as many wins as any coach in Oklahoma history. She has coached some of the best talents in the history of college softball, including 14 Big 12 Players of the Year, seven Big 12 Pitchers of the Year and 10 Big 12 Freshmen of the Year. Gasso, who is the highest paid coach in college softball, has also been named the Big 12 Coach of the Year 14 times in her illustrious career.
Alameda is in her 15th season as the head softball coach at Florida State University. Alameda has turned FSU into one of the top teams in the country during her tenure in Tallahassee. Four times in the last sevens years the Seminoles have been to the Women's College World Series, including a national championship run in 2018. In 2017, Alameda helped the Seminoles reach the No. 1 ranking in the country for the first time. Under Alameda's leadership, the Seminoles were the first ACC team to ever win a national championship in softball.
Inouye-Perez is in her 17th season as the head coach at UCLA. She has led the Bruins to six consecutive Women’s College World Series appearances. She was just recently inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame for both her playing and coaching career. In 2019, Inouye-Perez led the Bruins to their 13th national title, with UCLA never trailing at the Women’s College World Series that year. Inouye-Perez also won her 600th game in the title-clinching win over Oklahoma.
Walton is in his 18th year at the University of Florida, where he became the second fastest head coach to reach 1,000 wins. Walton has established Florida as a perennial powerhouse in college softball during his tenure in Gainesville. Walton is a five-time SEC Coach of the Year and led the Gators to back-to-back national titles in 2014 and 2015. The Gators are one of only four teams in college softball history to have won national championships in back-to-back seasons. Walton has led Florida to 16 NCAA regional appearances, 14 super regional appearances and 11 Women's College World Series berths.
Murphy is in his 25th season as the head softball coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Murphy has one national championship, 12 Women's College World Series berths, six SEC titles and 21 straight NCAA tournament bids with Alabama. Since taking over the program in 1999, Murphy has led the Crimson Tide to a winning record in all 21 seasons he's coached. It's irrefutable that Murphy's teams remain near the top in college softball's rankings each season due to the culture and expectations he's established at Alabama.