Stephenson Hired As Softball Assistant

July 18, 2008

IOWA CITY – University of Iowa Head softball Coach Gayle Blevins has announced that Diane Stephenson has been hired as the team’s new assistant coach. The announcement came Friday from Blevins.

“I am ecstatic to be on staff at the University of Iowa,” Stephenson said. “It is very exciting to be a part of the Iowa family and I can’t wait to work with Gayle (Blevins). She is one of the top coaches in the country and it will be great to be back coaching with her. The Big Ten is one of the premiere conferences in the country and I look forward to helping Iowa compete for championships. The campus and community has such a great feeling and I am thrilled to be a Hawkeye.”

Stephenson, who will serve as Iowa’s hitting coach and instruct the Hawkeye catchers, is no stranger to Blevins or Iowa softball. She served as an assistant at Indiana from 1983-87 under Blevins during the most successful era in Hoosier softball history. The duo helped lead Indiana to two Big Ten championships (1983 and 1986), two NCAA Midwest Regional championships (1983 and 1986) and three NCAA Women’s College World Series berths (1980, 1983 and 1986).

Stephenson was then picked to replace Blevins as Indiana’s head coach and held the position from 1987-2002. She was named both the Big Ten and Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 1996 after leading the Hoosiers to their third Big Ten championship in school history. She led Indiana to two of its five NCAA Tournament appearances (1994 and 1996), while coaching five all-Americans and 18 first team all-Big Ten selections. She also coached former Iowa Associate Head Coach Michelle Venturella from 1992-95.

From 2003-07, Stephenson served as an assistant principal, athletic director and teacher at St. Charles School in Bloomington, IN. She has also been a private consultant and guest lecturer since 2002, providing private pitching and hitting instruction to student-athletes, including athletes at Michigan, Iowa and Mississippi State.

“We are thrilled to welcome Diane Stephenson to our Hawkeye softball program,” Blevins said. “Diane is an outstanding teacher and coach. She possesses tremendous passion and enthusiasm for working with young people. She brings years of experience and perspective which will serve our program well. Diane understands the game both technically and strategically. I know our team will learn a tremendous amount from her and will enjoy working with her. I could not be more pleased to have Diane on board.”

Stephenson received her degree in physical education in 1982 and her masters in athletic administration in 1989, both from Indiana University. Stephenson also enjoyed a successful softball career as a Hoosier. She was the first female student-athlete to receive a full athletic scholarship at Indiana and was also the school’s first softball all-American, earning the honor in 1981. She led the Hoosiers to a Big Ten championship in 1978 and the team made back-to-back appearances in the AIAW College World Series in 1979-80, finishing fifth and national runner-up, respectively. Blevins coached Stephenson at Indiana during the 1980 and 1981 seasons.