|High School:||Bishop Montgomery HS|
|Alma Mater:||Long Beach State|
Having recently completed her 24th season at the University of Oklahoma, NFCA Hall of Fame head coach Patty Gasso has molded the OU softball program into a national power and permanently placed herself among the elite college softball coaches in the country.
Oklahoma has won four national championships, winning in 2000, 2013, 2016 and most recently in 2017. OU is one of just three programs in NCAA history to win more than two national titles. She's reached the Women's College World Series 12 times during her tenure, and in the process, advanced to the postseason in each one of her 24 seasons.
Is she the best coach in the history of Oklahoma softball? Undoubtedly.
Is she the greatest coach in Big 12 history? The stats say she is.
Could she be one of the best coaches to ever coach college softball? Each season, she continues to build what is a very strong argument.
With 28 seasons as a head coach to her name, Gasso has a career collegiate coaching record of 1364-386-3 (.779) and holds an overall record of 1203-327-2 (.786) at the University of Oklahoma.
She has won more Big 12 games (325-85; .793) than any coach in the league's history and has more than twice as many overall wins as any other coach in OU history. OU has claimed 11 Big 12 regular season, including an unprecedented seven straight since the 2012 season, and six championship titles under her direction. Gasso's Sooner teams have finished second or higher 19 different times in the 23 years since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996.
Numerous Sooner players have prospered under Gasso's tutelage and garnered national, regional and conference recognition. Keilani Ricketts was the two-time USA Softball National Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013, becoming just the third player in history to win more than once. Gasso has also directed 59 All-Americans, 133 All-Region honors and 94 first-team all-conference selections.
In the Big 12 era, Sooners have been named Big 12 Player of the Year a total of 12 times and Big 12 Pitcher of the Year six times, while seven have been selected as Big 12 Freshman of the Year and one as Big 12 Newcomer. In 2010, Amber Flores became the first player in league history to earn Player of the Year honors twice, while Shelby Pendley joined her in 2015.
The OU softball success under Gasso has also spilled over into the classroom where the Sooners have been honored with 131 academic all-conference honors. Nine of those have gone on to become Academic All-Americans, including Lana Moran, the 2000 Academic All-American of the Year.
Gasso and her staff have consistently been recognized for their efforts on and off the field. The staff was awarded three consecutive Speedline/NFCA Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year awards from 1999-2001 and received the national honor in 2000, 2013, 2016 and 2017. Gasso and staff have claimed the regional honor in 11 of their 24 seasons with the most recent award coming in 2018. In addition, Gasso has been named the Big 12 Coach of the Year 11 times: 1996, 1999, 2000, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Oklahoma became just the fourth program in NCAA history to win back-to-back national titles by taking home the crown in 2017 with a 61-9 record. Playing as the No. 10 seed, OU lost their opening game of the NCAA Regionals but won 11 straight postseason games after that en route to the title. The Sooners won four straight elimination games to win the Regional before taking down Auburn in the Super Regionals in a rematch of the 2016 WCWS Championship Series with Auburn. At the 2017 WCWS, OU ran through the opening rounds to reach the finals against top-seeded Florida, where the Sooners dispatched the Gators in two games.
Shay Knighten was named the WCWS' Most Outstanding Player and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Paige Lowary, Nicole Mendes and Paige Parker. Knighten and Parker were also tabbed as Second-Team All-Americans, along with Caleigh Clifton.
OU captured its sixth straight Big 12 regular season crown and also swept the Big 12 Tournament (which returned for the first time since 2010). For the third straight year, Oklahoma was the recipient of Big 12 Player of the Year (Shay Knighten), Pitcher of the Year (Paige Parker), Freshman of the Year (Nicole Mendes) and Coach of the Year.
To some, the 2016 season was expected to be a rebuilding season. Losing such a dominant senior class and replacing it with eight freshman, the largest freshman class in Gasso's career, a drop-off was expected. However, the Sooners fought through early growing pains en route to the program's fifth straight Big 12 title and its third national title.
Sitting at 25-7 on April 2, the Sooners won their next 22 games to reach the postseason as the No. 3 national seed. After working through the Regional and Super Regional, OU ran the winning streak to a school record 31 games and reached the WCWS Finals against Auburn. Oklahoma won game one, dropped game two as the winning streak ended, but came back to win game three and take the national championship. Freshmen Sydney Romero and Shay Knighten were named to WCWS All-Tournament Team, as was sophomore Paige Parker who was named Most Outstanding Player.
Parker was named to the All-America First Team, while senior Erin Miller and freshman Shay Knighten were each selected to the All-America Second Team. OU tied a school record by having all eight of its nominees named to the All-Region squads. Within the Big 12 OU swept all the individual awards, including Big 12 Player of the Year (Miller), Pitcher of the Year (Parker), Freshman of the Year (Knighten), Defensive Player of the Year (Kelsey Arnold) and Coach of the Year.
The 2015 season saw the Sooners continue their dominant run through the Big 12, winning an unprecedented fourth straight league crown. OU then earned the No. 11 national seed and advanced as far as the Super Regionals for the sixth consecutive season.
For the third time in four seasons OU had at least three representatives on the NFCA All-America teams. Seniors Lauren Chamberlain and Shelby Pendley were each named to the All-America First Team, while freshman Paige Parker, the NFCA Freshman of the Year, was selected to the All-America Second Team.
The program tied a school record by having all eight of its nominees named to the 2015 NFCA Division I All-Central Region Team, including five first-team honorees. It marks the second straight season that OU had eight selections. The five first-team selections also tied a school record for Oklahoma, matching the mark set by the 2005 and 2007 squads.
Oklahoma became the first team in Big 12 Conference history to capture each of the four major end-of-season awards, taking home Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year honors this season.
Also this year, Gasso became the second-fastest coach in NCAA Division I history to reach 1,000 wins when she accomplished the feat this season in 1,300 games. She was the 28th coach in NCAA softball history to reach that figure and the 17th to do it at the DI level. She also became one of 10 coaches to get 1,000 wins at one Division I school.
On April 30, Lauren Chamberlain hit a grand slam at North Texas for the 91st home run of her career to break the all-time mark of 90 held by former UCLA player Stacey Nuveman. Chamberlain went on to hit four more home runs during the season to finish her remarkable career with 95. In addition, she set the NCAA all-time slugging percentage record with a .960 career mark.
History was made by the Sooners in 2014 as they became the first team to win the Big 12 championship three seasons in a row. Sitting at 18-8 on March 15 and with All-American Lauren Chamberlain out with an injury, the team proceeded to win 31 of its next 33 games to win the league title and earn the No. 7 national seed. OU went on to reach the Women's College World Series for the fourth straight season and ninth time in program history.
Junior Shelby Pendley was named a first-team All-American for the first time in her career, while fellow junior Lauren Chamberlain became a three-time All-American as she was placed on the third team. Sophomore Kelsey Stevens became the first Sooner in program history to lead the nation in wins as she tied for the top spot with a school and Big 12 record total of 38 victories.
Oklahoma put together one of the finest seasons the sport had ever seen in 2013, rolling to a 57-4 record, which was the fifth best winning percentage in NCAA history. Included in that record was a 10-0 mark in the postseason that saw OU outscore its opponents, 91-16, en route to the second national championship in school history. In Big 12 play the Sooners were 15-2 as they captured their 10th conference championship.
OU led the nation in four seperate categories, including winning percentage and slugging percentage, and became the first team in NCAA history to lead the country in both earned run average and runs scored per game. Individually, Lauren Chamberlain was the nation's leader in home runs, home runs per game, runs scored per game and slugging percentage, while Michelle Gascoigne's ERA of 0.88 was the best by any player in the country since the 2009 season.
Eight players received All-Big 12 recognition, while Ricketts was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and Shelby Pendley was tabbed the Player of the Year.
The Sooners returned to the Women's College World Series in 2012 for the seventh time in program history and reached the best-of-three championship finals for the second time since the format was changed in 2005.
Keilani Ricketts was named the 2012 USA Softball Player of the Year, the first Sooner to win the honor. She shared All-American accolades with teammates Jessica Shults and Lauren Chamberlain.
All three players also received All-Big 12 First Team honors along with Georgia Casey. Destinee Martinez was named to the conference's second team. Ricketts was named the Big 12 Player of the Year and set program records for strikeouts in a career, season and game.
Chamberlain was tabbed as the Big 12 Freshman of the Year as she smashed the school and conference record for home runs in a season and broke the school record for slugging percentage.
As a team, OU established new conference bests for slugging percentage and home runs. In addition, school records were broken for strikeouts thrown and strikeouts per seven innings.
The 2011 season saw the Oklahoma Softball program return to the Women's College World Series for the sixth time in program history and the first since 2004. OU made the postseason for the 18th straight season as it won its first ever NCAA Super Regional sweeping Arizona in two games in Tucson.
Ricketts was named a NFCA First Team All-American while Shults earned second team honors as both finished in the USA Softball Player of the Year Top 25. The duo, along with freshmen Destinee Martinez and Brittany Williams, earned NFCA All-Region honors.
Ricketts, Martinez and Chana'e Jones made first team All-Big 12 while Shults, Dani Dobbs and Haley Nix earned second team honors. Dobbs and Michelle Gascoigne earned first team Academic All-Big 12 honors, while Jones took second team honors.
The season saw Gasso claim her 800th win at Oklahoma with a 7-6 win over Washington on March 19, just a little over a month after Gascoigne threw the program's seventh perfect game on Feb. 11. In all 43 program records were set in 2011, including 37 of the postseason variety when the squad caught fire. Ricketts set the program's single-season record for strikeouts while Shults set the season record for putouts by a catcher.
The 2010 season saw great success as the Sooners advanced to NCAA Super Regional play. OU won the final Big 12 Championship and finished second in the regular season. Flores and freshmen Jessica Shults and Keilani Ricketts were named NFCA second team All-Americans. Those three, along with Vandever, earned all-region honors. Flores and Ricketts were top 25 finalists for USA Softball's Collegiate Player of the Year.
Flores was named Big 12 Player of the Year and Vandever was named Defensive Player of the Year. Five Sooners were named to the All-Big 12 first team and two were named to the second team. OU placed five student-athletes on the All-Big 12 Academic team. Flores closed out her career as the Big 12 career leader in home runs and sat atop OU career categories in home runs, extra-base hits, walks drawn, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
Ricketts also earned most outstanding player honors at the Big 12 Championship and was named conference pitcher of the week three times. She also earned National Player of the Week honors on Feb. 23. Shults was named Big 12 Player of the Week on March 30.
The 2009 Sooners won their fourth Big 12 regular season title and hosted an NCAA Regional for the second consecutive year. Flores was named Big 12 Player of the Year and Gasso earned her fourth Big 12 Coach of the Year honor. Flores was named a first team All-America selection by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and senior Samantha Ricketts was named to the second team. Flores, Ricketts, Vandever and senior D.J. Mathis were named to the first team All-Central Region by the organization. Flores was also a top 10 finalist for USA Softball's Collegiate Player of the Year.
Five Sooners were named to the first team All-Big 12 team and three were named to the second team. OU placed five student-athletes on the All-Big 12 Academic team. Flores was named Big 12 Player of the Week three times, while Krystle Huey earned the honor once. Mathis was also named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week once during the season. Flores earned NFCA/Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week honors and ESPN/USA Softball National Player of the Week honors on Feb. 10.
In 2008, the Sooners advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals and finished second in the Big 12. In addition to Savannah Long being named the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year, she and four teammates were named first team All-Big 12. Four Sooners earned All-Midwest Region first team honors with another on the second team.
The Sooners opened the 2007 season by winning their first 23 games of the season and 30 of their first 31 contests. The dominant start propelled the team to a Super Regional berth.
In 2006, Gasso led the Sooners to their 13th straight 40-win season. The young Sooner squad made a strong postseason run, winning 12 of its final 15 contests to finish second in the Big 12 Championship and advance to the NCAA Regional Finals for the seventh consecutive year.
In 2005, the Sooners made their 11th straight NCAA postseason appearance under Gasso and claimed the Regional 14 Championship in front of the home crowd in Norman. Despite missing out on its sixth straight WCWS appearance after dropping a best-of-three series to Arizona in the NCAA Super Regional, the Sooners were one of the best hitting teams in program history (fourth in the nation with a .320 batting average). The highlight of the season was OU's record 29-game winning streak that spanned 36 days and was extended during play in five different states. The Sooners outscored opponents 218-40, run-ruled 10 opponents and claimed five tourney championships during the streak.
The 2004 season went down as one of the most memorable in Sooner history. OU battled through injuries during the entire regular season and peaked at the right time. OU, seeded second in the NCAA Region I Championship, stormed through Tucson, Ariz., knocking off No. 1 Arizona and No. 9 Louisiana-Lafayette en route to the Sooners' fifth consecutive WCWS.
The Sooners entered the WCWS as the hottest hitting team in the postseason and held onto that recognition, despite being eliminated after winning their opener against Washington. Gasso's staff was recognized for a fifth time as the NFCA Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year, thanks to one of the most memorable postseason runs in NCAA history.
Oklahoma fell just short of its goal, the Women's College World Series, but the Sooners proved once again that they were a national powerhouse. That year, OU defeated several top-25 teams including Louisiana State, Texas, Massachusetts, Oregon, Texas A&M, Missouri and Nebraska. In addition, the Sooners swept the four-game series with state rival Oklahoma State. The last victory against the Cowgirls in the regular season finale clinched the Big 12 title.
The 2003 squad was led by five seniors and sophomore hurler Kami Keiter. OU reached its fourth consecutive WCWS by becoming the first Sooner squad to claim a regional championship away from Norman. OU won one game before being eliminated from the 2003 WCWS.
Five Sooners were named to the All-Big 12 Conference first team including senior Leah Gulla, who led the conference in batting average, hits and RBI. Underclassmen Keiter, Scaglione and Kristin Vesely joined senior Erin Evans on the all-conference team. The NFCA bestowed All-America honors on Keiter and Gulla, while Evans joined the duo on the Midwest Region Team.The OU program reached a couple of milestones during the 2003 season. The program recorded its 1,000th victory when the Sooners knocked off Bethune-Cookman in its regional opener on May 15. Justifying its nickname, the Sooners also became the first Big 12 team to reach the 100-win mark in conference play. OU beat Nebraska, 1-0, in Lincoln on March 20, 2003, to be the first squad to reach the century mark.
In 2002, Oklahoma took their team motto "Triple Threat" to heart as the Sooners swept their third consecutive NCAA Regional and advanced to a third straight Women's College World Series.
Following the 2000 National Championship season, Gasso's 2001 squad continued the string of success. The 2001 team went on to match many of the accomplishments of the previous year, including a return trip to the Women's College World Series, a 50-win season and four All-America selections. The team also established its own successes by compiling a school-record 23-game win streak and the program's first Big 12 Tournament title since 1996.
The 2000 Sooners won their third Big 12 regular season title since the league began in 1996 and hosted their first NCAA Regional since 1997. Behind an explosive offense and a dominant defense, the Sooners rolled to a 66-8 record and won their final eight games of the season to capture the first softball national championship in school history.
Four Sooners earned All-America honors, with Lisa Carey and Ashli Barrett earning first team recognition. Evans and pitcher Jennifer Stewart were both third team All-Americans and Stewart was also named the Most Outstanding Player of the WCWS. The accolades rolled in as Gasso was named the Dallas Morning News Big 12 Coach of the Year. She and her staff also earned the Midwest Region Coach of the Year award and Speedline/NFCA Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year.
In 1999, Gasso led OU to its sixth straight NCAA regional playoff appearance. Along the path to the regional playoffs in Baton Rouge, La., the Sooners seized several awards and honors. For the second time in the three-year history of the Big 12 Conference, OU was crowned regular season champion.
Not only were Gasso's players honored for their accomplishments in 1999, but she was also recognized for her solid coaching effort. Gasso was named the 1999 Big 12 Coach of the Year and joined her staff as the Midwest Regional Coaching Staff of the Year.
The 1998 season was probably one of Gasso's best coaching jobs. However, it wasn't because of the number of wins and losses or the tournaments won by the Sooners. It was due to the fact the team featured six freshmen. Gasso led the young group to a second-place conference finish and a No. 1 seed in a NCAA Regional. Five Sooners were named to the all-conference squad and three players were named to the All-Midwest Region team.
Gasso continued the trend of reaching new heights in 1997 when the team recorded the then-second best record in school history (55-19). The season was highlighted by two impressive 12-game winning streaks that helped the team to a second-place finish in the Big 12. For the fourth consecutive year, OU advanced to a NCAA Regional. It marked the first time in school history that OU hosted the event.
Gasso and the Sooners reached new heights in 1996, recording a 50-20 record, a first-ever Big 12 Championship, and another regional final berth. OU dominated the inaugural Big 12 Tournament, putting five players on the all-tournament squad. Pitcher Jill Most was named the tourney MVP.
Gasso's 1996 squad also became the first team outside of the states of California or Arizona to win the prestigious Pony Tournament. Gasso was recognized by her peers for her team's performance, earning the Big 12 Coach of the Year award. Again, Sooner players were mentioned as some of the league's best with 10 players receiving All-Big 12 recognition.
In her first season at the helm, the Sooners recorded a 43-23 record, finished second in the conference and reached the regional final. Several Sooners received awards for their play during the 1995 season, including 11 players who garnered all-conference accolades (four on the first team).
Gasso's career with the Sooners began in 1995 when she arrived at OU after five successful years at Long Beach City College. Her accomplishments during her tenure at LBCC and since led to Gasso being named to the LBCC Hall of Champions in 2004. Later during the 2004 summer, Gasso was inducted into the inaugural class of the Long Beach City Baseball and Softball Hall of Fame. She has also been inducted into the El Camino City College Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Long Beach State Hall of Fame in 2013.
Gasso and her husband, Jim, reside in Norman. Their oldest son, J.T., is in his second year as an assistant softball coach at Oklahoma, while their youngest son, D.J., is a redshirt junior on the baseball team at Bradley University. Patty and Jim are also the grandparents of Joseph Gasso, the son of J.T. and his wife, Andrea, the Sooners' volunteer assistant coach.