IOWA CITY, Iowa — Rick Dillinger, a member of the University of Iowa softball coaching staff for the past four seasons, announced his retirement on Sunday. Dillinger will step away at the conclusion of the season.
“We are excited for Rick and his retirement, but we will be missing an incredible coach,” head coach Renee Gillispie said. “He’s been one of the top coaches in the state of Iowa for years. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Rick and his guidance. We are blessed that our Iowa softball players could get that opportunity, and that he could be part of our Hawkeye family. He is going to be greatly missed, as a good friend and a fellow coach. It is going to be very tough to replace him.”
Dillinger has spent over 45 years coaching in the state of Iowa at the high school and collegiate levels.
“I’ve been blessed to be on Coach Gillispie’s staff,” said Dillinger. “The game has been very wonderful to me, and I have been fortunate to work with some incredible kids. Of everything, that is going to be what I miss the most — the relationship with the kids. I am proud to be a Hawkeye, and I am proud of where the program is going. I can’t thank Coach Gillispie enough for the opportunity.”
In 2019, Dillinger helped guide junior Allison Doocy to All-Big Ten and All-Region honors.
Dillinger helped coach one of the best pitching staffs in the country in 2020. The Hawkeyes ranked second in the Big Ten with a combined ERA of 2.15 and two Hawkeye pitchers were ranked inside the Big Ten’s top-four (Doocy; Lauren Shaw).
In 2021 under Dillinger’s leadership, Iowa’s ERA ranked No. 31 in the nation (2.34), and two of Iowa’s three senior pitchers ranked in the Top 10 in the Big Ten in ERA. Doocy threw the 18th no hitter in program history on May 2, and was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week two days later.
Prior to joining the Hawkeyes, Dillinger was the head coach at three different schools, Adel-DeSoto-Minburn, North Polk Community, and Danville Community School. Dillinger coached Gillispie at Danville Community School from 1976-79.
Dillinger holds a 1,165-551 record as a softball coach, winning three state championships, 13 conference titles, nine sectional championships, 11 district championships, and appearing in 12 Iowa State Softball Tournaments.
Dillinger has won numerous softball coaching accolades, including National Softball Coach of the Year (2004), District Softball Coach of the Year (1986, 1987, 2005, 2006, 2014, 2015, 2018) by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) and Iowa Girls Coaches Association (IGCA), and Softball Coach of the Year (1979, 1987, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2014).
He is also a member of the Upper Iowa University Hall of Fame and IGCA Hall of Fame.