Howie Thompson, Director of Sports Communication Services
FAYETTE, Iowa (July 29, 2010)—Upper Iowa University Director of Athletics David Miller announced today that Anna Van Wetzinga has been selected as the new head coach of the Peacock softball program. Van Wetzinga comes to UIU and the Fayette community after spending the last three years at the helm of the Colorado School of Mines softball program.
“Anna Van Wetzinga is a proven leader, head coach, and mentor to student-athletes,” said Miller. “I am pleased and proud to have Anna as the head coach of the UIU Softball Program. We have an outstanding group of individuals in our softball program and I know our student-athletes will be excited and will play hard for Coach Van Wetzinga. They know she will challenge them on and off the field.”
The Peacocks compiled a 15-21 overall record in 2010 including a 10-16 record in NSIC play which was good enough for the ninth place finish in the conference standings. Last season marked the first time in UIU’s short, four-year Northern Sun Conference history that the softball team did not make the NSIC Tournament as they fell just a half game shy. The team graduated three quality veterans, but returned the bulk of their roster for the 2011 season and added six new players to the mix.
“I am excited for the opportunity to lead the Peacock softball program. My roots are in Iowa from my hometown, to my high school and college,” said Van Wetzinga. “Upper Iowa is a hidden treasure; and as the only NCAA Division II institution in Iowa, there are many opportunities for success.”
Over the last three years, Van Wetzinga led the Orediggers to an overall record of 101-64 while racking up a 73-38 record in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Fourteen All-RMAC performers developed under her guidance including the 2008 RMAC Freshman of the Year and two All-Americans. Van Wetzinga added, “The RMAC and the NSIC are very comparable when you look at talent level from top to bottom in the league. The difference between the two region conferences is that the RMAC is more offensive, while the NSIC’s strength is pitching and defense.”
Van Wetzinga will hope to bring that offensive attitude from the RMAC and combine it with the current pitching and defensive focus to find success in the NSIC. She pointed out that “offensive success comes from two major factors; consistency in our teaching approach and a variety of skill sets throughout the lineup from speed to power. You have to have speed on base to be aggressive when your power delivers hits into the gaps.” Colorado School of Mines twice finished in the top 10 in batting average in NCAA Division II.
In her second season (2009), Van Wetzinga led CSM to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history as the #3 seed in the Central Region. The Orediggers established a new single-season program record for victories with a 39-19 record, breaking the previous record (38) set during the 2008 season. CSM also set a single-season record for conference wins as they posted a 28-8 record in RMAC play. Van Wetzinga was named the RMAC Coach of the Year in 2008 after guiding Mines to the RMAC Regular Season Championship with a 38-19 mark overall and a 27-11 record in conference play.
“When we began this search, we were determined to find an individual who matched our philosophy on intercollegiate athletics and the value of a positive student-athlete experience,” commented Miller. “We found that in Coach Van Wetzinga. She aligned with all 18 profile characteristics we established that included successful head coaching experience at the collegiate level, NCAA Division II experience, knowledge and understanding of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, personal ties to the state of Iowa, and an individual who has been part of building a successful softball program.”
Prior to taking over at the Colorado School of Mines, Van Wetzinga spent two years (2006-07) as an assistant coach at Indiana State University. Van Wetzinga was also an assistant coach at St. Ambrose University in 2003.
A native of Bettendorf, Iowa and graduate of Central College in Iowa, Van Wetzinga was selected as the National Fastpitch Coaches Association's (NFCA) NCAA Division III Catcher of the Year as a senior in 2001. Van Wetzinga, who led the Dutch to a national runner-up finish in 2001, was a three-time All-Conference, four-time All-Region and two-time All-American selection during her time in Pella.
Van Wetzinga earned her Bachelor’s degree in General Studies with an emphasis on Exercise Science from Central in 2001 and then attained her Master’s degree in Recreation and Sport Management from Indiana State University in 2007.