December 10, 2013
National fame for Lenhart
NFCA to induct Dragons skipper into Class of ‘14
It’s been quite a year for SUNY Cortland softball coach Julie Lenhart.
After guiding the Red Dragons to the championship game of the NCAA Division III World Series this past May — when her resilient squad recovered from an 8-10 start to the season to arrive on the doorstep of a national title — Lenhart is now the recipient of a special honor.
The most successful softball coach in school history has been selected for induction into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Lenhart will be one of four members of the 2014 NFCA Hall of Fame class and will be formally inducted at the NFCA’s convention next year in Las Vegas.
Her induction, along with Oklahoma City University head coach Phil McSpadden, Alabama-Huntsville head coach Les Stuedeman and NFCA Executive Director Lacy Lee Baker will increase the NFCA Hall of Fame to 66 members. The 2014 induction class was announced at the end of the 2013 NFCA Hall of Fame banquet in San Antonio, Texas, last week.
Lenhart began coaching at Cortland in 1995 and in 19 years has a record of 637-240-2 to make her the most successful coach in Red Dragon softball history. In 2012, she became just the seventh softball coach in Division III history to surpass 700 career wins, and her overall record through the 2013 season stands at 757-317-2 in 24 campaigns.
Her 757 victories rank sixth all-time in Division III history. She has led Cortland to 30 or more wins 14 times, including five seasons of 40 or more victories.
Her Cortland teams qualified for the NCAA Division III playoffs seven straight years from 2007-13 and three consecutive years each from 1997-99 and 2003-05, including World Series appearances in 1998, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Besides last year’s second place World Series showing, she led Cortland to a a fourth-place national showing in 2011, a tie for fifth place in both 2003 and 2008 and a tie for seventh place in 1998, 2004 and 2009.
Lenhart has been named SUNY Athletic Conference Coach of the Year four times (1997, 2005, 2007 and 2010) and has led the Red Dragons to eight league titles. Lenhart has led the Northeast Region Coaching Staff of the Year seven times, most recently in 2013, and she was also named East Region Coach of the Year in 1997.
Lenhart came to Cortland from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where her teams were a combined 120-77 in five seasons. She was named the Wisconsin Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Conference “Coach of the Year” in both 1990 and 1992, her team winning a league title in the latter season.
A native of Findlay, Ohio, Lenhart is a 1980 graduate of Ohio Northern University. She lettered in basketball, softball and volleyball, and is a member of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe