Aug. 6, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — After leading the 2013 University of Iowa softball team to a 30-win season, including six wins over nationally-ranked opponents, and having a school record 10 players earn spring Academic All-Big Ten recognition, head coach Marla Looper has received a contract extension through the year 2018.
“Coach Looper has been a terrific fit for the Hawkeyes,” said Director of Athletics Gary Barta. “She’s created a strong culture, and is well on her way to bringing us back to contending for championships on a regular basis.”
“I am very privileged to have the opportunity to continue moving this program in a positive direction,” said Looper. “It is a statement that the administration has enough confidence and belief in what my staff and I are doing to help our student-athletes excel. It is a little security, but I still go to bed every night making sure that I am doing what I need to as a coach to lead these student-athletes in the direction they need.”
Since arriving in Iowa City prior to the 2011 season, Looper has instilled a winning culture, compiling an overall record of 84-74 (.532) and a Big Ten mark of 33-34 (.492). The squad’s 30-win season in 2013 marked the most wins for the program since finishing 42-16 in 2009. A trio of Hawkeyes received All-Big Ten honors for their efforts, including first team honoree Megan Blank, second team selection Johnnie Dowling and all-defensive team selection Kayla Massey. Blank was also a 2013 NFCA First Team All-Midwest Region selection for the second consecutive season and received an invite to attend the USA Women’s National Team Selection Camp.
In 2012, the Hawkeyes finished runner-up in the Big Ten under Looper’s leadership and had three first team All-Big Ten selections in Liz Watkins, Massey and Blank. Michelle Zoeller was a second team honoree, while Dowling was a third team selection.
Looper guided Iowa to a 27-24 overall record (9-11 Big Ten) in her debut campaign in 2011, and had two players receive All-Big Ten recognition — second team selection Watkins and third team recipient Katie Keim.
Throughout her UI tenure, Looper has also emphasized the importance of academic success. In each of her three seasons, there has been an increase of in softball Academic All-Big Ten selections, capped by a school record 10 in 2013.
“There are still a lot of things to be done that have not been done yet,” Looper added. “When it comes to us continuing to grow as a program, competing at the highest level — we are doing that, year in and year out. We are starting to win those games. We had a milestone (in 2013) of getting a 30-win season, but I am far from satisfied. Until we start winning national championships, year in and year out, I don’t think I will ever be satisfied. [The extension] allows us to build for the future a little bit and continue to get the program in the shape it needs to be in. The responsibility is to continue to do things right: win, grow good leaders and good citizens. It is a task I take on wholeheartedly.”