June 19, 2008
IOWA CITY – University of Iowa softball Head Coach Gayle Blevins has announced that Michelle Venturella has resigned as Associate Head Coach and has accepted a head coaching position at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The announcement came Thursday.
“It is hard to believe that this chapter in my life is coming to a close,” Venturella said. “I have truly enjoyed the student-athletes that I have had the privilege to work with as well as the fans who surround the Iowa softball program. I want to thank Gayle for the opportunity to be a part of Iowa softball, as well as the wonderful Iowa City community. There is truly something special about being a Hawkeye, and it’s a feeling that I will carry with me as I move forward in my life.”
“It is always difficult to lose someone of Michelle’s caliber,” Blevins said. “We have all enjoyed our time with her and appreciate the many contributions she has made to Iowa. She is a wonderful coach and person and will do an outstanding job as head coach at UIC. Michelle has been very instrumental in our successes at Iowa and we wish her the very best as she moves her program forward.”
Venturella spent six seasons at Iowa and in the summer of 2004, became the first associate head coach in Iowa softball history. She served as Iowa’s recruiting coordinator, hitting coach, and also coached the Hawkeye catchers.
In her first year at Iowa, Venturella helped the Hawkeyes to a 44-15 record en route to both the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships. She was a member of the 2003 staff that was named National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year.
In 2005, Venturella helped guide the Hawkeyes to a 50-14 mark while setting school records in team single-season home runs (61), team single-game total bases (36), individual single-game home runs (3), RBI (8) and total bases (12).
Venturella also helped coach two National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) draft picks in Stacy May (2006) and Emily Nichols (2008).
The Hawkeyes qualified for NCAA Tournament play in five of the six years Venturella was on staff. Iowa was also selected to host an NCAA Regional twice (2006 and 2008).