By Tom Mauldin
The Northwest college softball coaching carousel has been busy of late with a number of coaching changes at all levels from two-year to NAIA to all three divisions of the NCAA.
Leading the way is MIKE MAYBEN replacing Jessica Pistole at Southern Oregon University. Coming off a NAIA national championship season, SOU named Mayben as interim head coach to replace Jessica Pistole who moved on to D1 University of San Diego University. Mayben served as an assistant the last two seasons for Pistole. Prior to joining the Raiders, Mayben won four state championships as the head softball coach at North Medford High, compiling a 275-66 record over a dozen seasons.
Two other members of SOU's 2019 National Fastpitch Coaches Association's NAIA National Coaching Staff of the Year, Harlee Donovan and Duane Pardue, will stay on as assistants.
Mayben has been a teacher in the Medford School District since 1999 and at North Medford since 2011. He took over as coach of the Black Tornado in 2006 and left having won eight consecutive conference championships, capturing his final state title in 2017.
Following his final season, Mayben was named the OSAA Class 6A Coach of the Year for the fourth time and the Southwest Conference Coach of the Year for the seventh time.
Mayben graduated from Corban with a Bachelor's of Science in elementary education, and attained a Master's of Technology in education from Lesley University.
Here’s a brief look at other coaching hires:
RACHEL MARTIN has bee named Corban University’s new head coach. Martin, formerly Rachel Conrad, replaces Abigail Flagler who moved on to D1 Abilene Christian University in Texas. Martin graduated from Corban (Salem, OR) with a degree in physical education in 2014 and has been an assistant coach with the team since 2017. In 2019, she served as the team's hitting and strength coach, while also working with the team's outfielders.
Under her direction, the Warrior lineup improved their team batting average (.322), slugging percentage (.469), on-base percentage (.383), and stolen bases (134) in 2019. During her time in leadership, the Warriors garnered 10 All-Conference honorees, four CoSIDA Academic All-District award-winners, two Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) Gold Glove outfielders, a pair of National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Region award-winners, and an NAIA All-American.
An honored alum of the Corban program, Martin is one of the Warrior's all-time leading catchers. After spending her freshman season at NCAA Centenary College of Louisiana, she transferred to Corban for the final three years of her collegiate career. Martin was a part of the first Corban softball team to ever claim the CCC regular-season title in 2013. Martin will inherit a team that is coming off its third-consecutive appearance in the NAIA National Tournament, concluding the 2019 season with a heartbreaking loss to Campbellsville University in the Opening Round.
Idaho State University has tabbed CRISTAL BROWN as coach to lead the Bengal program. Brown, who will be ISU’s eighth coach in team history, spent eight successful seasons as D3 Whitworth, where she compiled a 221-124 record.
Brown led the Pirates to three consecutive Northwest Conference regular season titles (2015-17). The 2015 season was the program's first-ever NWC regular season championship title as the team had an overall record of 31-12 and 21-7 in conference play which was a (then) school record for most victories in a season.
Brown was selected the conference Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017.
A California native, Brown is a former small-college All-American at Azusa Pacific in 2000. She helped lead the Cougars to a 53-15 record and a runner-up finish at the NAIA national championship.
Brown received her Bachelor of Arts in History in 2001 from The Master's College in Santa Clarita California and went on to receive her Masters of Arts in Coaching and Athletic Admin in 2011 from Concordia University in Irvine, California.
Former Whitworth assistant softball coach and a former assistant Athletics Director, BOB CASTLE will take over as interim head softball coach through the completion of the 2020 season.
Castle was an assistant coach for previous head coach Cristal Brown from 2015 through 2018. During that time he was part of three consecutive Northwest Conference titles (2015, 2016, 2017). Castle also worked as a softball umpire for 14 years, including 11 years at the collegiate level. He umpired games in the Big Sky Conference, Western Athletic Conference and Pac-12.
Castle has served as the general manager of the Kalispell Golf and Country Club since May 2016. He had previously been Whitworth's Assistant A.D. for corporate partnerships and sponsorships and served as the radio voice of Pirate football and basketball for 18 years.
KARA DRESSEL has begun her second stint as a softball coach at Puget Sound University. She spent five years as an assistant, but will return as head coach.
Dressel also coached at College of the Redwoods (Eureka, CA), where she worked primarily with pitchers. For the past six years Dressel coached at Gig Harbor High School, serving as the head coach since 2014. Dressel received her undergraduate degree from Humboldt State, where she was also a member of its softball team. She completed master's work at Seattle University in the Sports Administration and Leadership program.
Former North Idaho College coach DON DON WILLIAMS has been named the head coach at Southern Utah University (Cedar City, UT).
Prior to joining the NWAC (Northwest Athletic Conference), NIC was a member of the Scenic West Athletic Conference of the National Junior College Athletic Association. While in the SWAC. Williams coached 53 All-Region players and led teams to two consecutive Region 18 championships, earning them automatic berths to the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series. Williams led teams to two national tournaments. In 2007, the Cardinals earned the highest team finish in the history of the NIC softball program, earning runners-up at the NJCAA National Tournament as her and her staff were named the 2007 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Western Region Coaching Staff of the Year Award.
In 2015, North Idaho transitioned into the Northwest Athletic Conference, becoming eligible for championships in 2016. In 2018, the Cardinals brought home their first NWAC Championship and a season record of 50-3 to seal a program record for season wins. Since transitioning into the NWAC, the Cardinals have posted a 157-39 record. Williams has collected 661 total wins in her career.
Her education-first approach has resulted in 10 individual NJCAA Academic All-Americans and six Academic All-American teams.
Williams played softball at Linfield College (McMinnville, OR). Where she received both All-Conference and All-District honors and graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology/sociology in 1991. She earned a master's degree in adult/organizational learning and leadership in 2009 from the University of Idaho (Moscow, ID).
After 20 years of coaching high school softball, PARRIS MARMON has been named head coach at Bellevue College. Marmon’s high school career included stops at Kentridge, Redmond and Newport.
After assisting at Seattle University for two years, ASHLEY LOKEY has been selected as Edmonds College’s head softball coach.
Lokey has previous head-coaching experience at the community college level. She coached at Chabot College (Hayward, CA), a two-year school in the California Community College Athletic Association for four years (2013-2017). Lokey rebuilt the program and in 2015-16 the Gladiators were 26-11.
KEVIN WITT has been named head softball coach at Chemeketa College (Salem, OR).