HEAD COACH JAMIE TRACHSEL

Jamie Trachsel enters her second season as the head coach of the University of Minnesota softball team after being named the Gophers' seventh head coach in program history on July 24, 2017.

In her first season at the helm of the program, Trachsel led the Gophers to a 41-17 season, their third straight Big Ten Tournament title and sixth consecutive NCAA tournament. Four Gophers earned All-Region honors, four earned All-Big Ten and Kendyl Lindaman was named Big Ten Player of the Year while earing All-American honors. A notable win during the 2018 season was the Gophers upset win over No. 9 Arizona in Tucson Arizona on March 14. The Gophers snagged a 1-0 win in extras to mark just the second time in 30 seasons that the Gophers defeated Arizona and just the fourth win all time in the series. The Gophers closed out the season winning 21 of their final 24 games. 

Trachsel came to Dinkytown from Iowa State, where she led the Cyclones for one year following six at the helm of perennial NCAA Tournament contender North Dakota State. Her hiring at Minnesota will be official after a standard university background check is completed. 

"Jamie is one of the country’s premier young softball coaches and we’re excited to bring her to Minnesota to lead our program and build on the success we’ve had in recent years,” said Athletics Director Mark Coyle. “Jamie’s leadership has consistently produced winning results. That track record, paired with her Midwestern roots and proven ability to develop the skills of her student-athletes throughout their collegiate careers, makes her the perfect fit for the Gophers.”

“I could not be more humbled and honored to lead the Gophers softball program, and I want to thank Mark Coyle and search committee for this tremendous opportunity,” Trachsel said. “While the decision to leave Iowa State was challenging, the opportunity that lies ahead at Minnesota to continue building a national powerhouse while returning to my home state is one that I could not pass up. The foundation that is in place is truly remarkable, and I look forward to meeting the team and helping these young women thrive as student-athletes. As a native of this great state, I have always admired how the University of Minnesota offers an athletic and academic experience that is second-to-none in the nation, and I am eager to work with our team and the University community to begin the next chapter of Gopher softball.”

A Duluth, Minn., native and former standout at St. Cloud State., Trachsel led the Cyclones to a fifth-place finish in the Big XII last season, garnering their highest conference win total in eight years along with the best regular-season league finish since 1994. Trachsel’s squad also saw improvement in the circle, dropping their team era by nearly two runs per game to the lowest since 2010.

Two Cyclones earned NFCA All-Region First Team honors in Kelsey McFarland and Sami Williams, the latter selected to the All-Big 12 First Team as well, one of only three freshmen league-wide to earn that award. ISU finished the season strong, winning six of its last seven league games along with a six-game overall winning streak. Two records were set last season, with 99 team stolen bases along with Williams’s 20 doubles breaking previous school marks.

Trachsel arrived in Ames following 14 seasons at North Dakota State, including the final six as co-head coach. In those half-dozen seasons, NDSU compiled a 221-109 overall record (.670), a 98-19 mark (.838) in the Summit League and advanced to NCAA Regional play five times. The Bison won their conference regular-season championship and the tournament championship five times each with Trachsel as co-head coach.

North Dakota State won at least 30 games – including a school-record 45 in 2015 when it climbed as high as 41st in the NCAA Percentage Ratings Index (RPI) – for 10 straight seasons.

The Bison advanced to the NCAA Regionals seven of the last eight years. The 2009 club won the Norman (Okla.) Regional to advance to the NCAA Super Regional in Tempe (Ariz.).

Her tenure with NDSU began with two seasons (2002-04) as a graduate assistant, followed by three (2005-07) as an assistant coach, three (2008-10) as associate head coach and the last six (2011-16) as co-head coach.

Through the course of her career, Trachsel has coached five All-Americans, 25 All-Region players and 59 All-Conference student athletes. She has also been on coaching staffs that were honored seven times, including NFCA Division I Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year twice (2009 and 2015). Trachsel is well respected among peers and lectured at the 2015 National Fastpitch Coaches Association convention on training drills for outfielders. She was featured in an ESPNW story for her tactical defensive skills.

Trachsel also helped transition the Bison program from Division II to Division I. After placing seventh and third at the Division II national championship in 2002 and 2003, North Dakota State moved up to the highest level in college softball.

As a player at St. Cloud State (1998-2000), she led the Huskies to three straight NCAA Division II tournament appearances and one conference title. Trachsel made the 1999 NCAA Division II All-Region Tournament Team and received All-Academic honors from the NFCA twice. SCSU won 127 games during her career.

As a prep athlete, Trachsel earned 17 letters (softball 6, tennis 5, basketball 5 and soccer 1) at Duluth (Minn.) Central High School. She is also a nine-time national champion in racquetball (1988-93 and 2003-05).

Trachsel earned a B.S. degree in sports management (minors in coaching and human relations) from St. Cloud State in 2001. She added a Master of Education degree (in athletics administration) from North Dakota State in 2006.

 

PIPER RITTER
ASSISTANT COACH

Former Minnesota pitcher Piper Ritter is in her 12th season as the Gophers pitching coach, having developed three of the top hurlers in Minnesota softball history in Brianna Hassett, Sara Moulton and Sara Groenewegen. 

In 2018, Ritter coached the Gophers to the 14th lowest ERA in the NCAA and second lowest in the Big Ten with a 1.90 mark as a staff. Ritter guided Amber Fiser to a 27-10 season with a 1.69 ERA as Fiser took on the role as the Gophers ace. Welcoming transfer Sydney Smith, who picked up the win in four of her last eight appearances, Ritter helped work Smith in to the Gophers rotation to form a strong starting staff along with Carlie Brandt who appeared in 16 games to go 7-2 with a 1.35 ERA. 

Ritter coached the Gophers to the third lowest ERA in the NCAA in the 2017 season with a 1.19 ERA as a staff. With the success in the circle the Maroon and Gold went a program best 56-5 overall. They broke a record for longest win streak to start a season with 19 and longest win streak ever with 26 straight. Prior to the 2017 season the Gophers were never ranked in the top-10 in either major polls. They reached No. 1 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll and No. 3 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. They won their first regular season Big Te title since 1991 and their third Big Ten tournament championship in four years. Groenewegen went on to become the first Gopher to ever win All-American honors in three seasons after an impressive 2017 season. She went 31-4 with a 0.63 ERA and 307 strikeouts. The ERA was the second lowest in the NCAA and second lowest ever recorded in Gophers history. Besides Groenewegen, Ritter also mentored freshman Amber Fiser to a strong freshman season. Fiser went 14-0 with a 1.68 ERA and 83 strikeouts.  Along with head coach Jessica Allister and associate head coach Jessica Merchant, Ritter was part of the NFCA Great Lakes Regional Coaching Staff of the Year in 2017. 

As a staff in 2014 Moulton, Groenewegen, and Nikki Anderson set single-season school records for shutouts with 22 and strikeouts with 487, both marks put the Gophers in the top three nationally during which led Minnesota to post its winningest season in 15 years. That season the Gophers captured the Big Ten Tournament title, and seal its first-ever NCAA super regional berth, posting a team ERA of 2.00.


Top Hurlers 
In 2016 Groenewegen again was dominant in the circle under Ritter's guidance. She went 31-7 with a 2.03 ERA and 336 strikeouts. She threw three no-hitters including a perfect game against FAU. For the second straight  year she earned NFCA All-American honors being named to the First Team and earned three national player of the week awards and five B1G Pitcher of the Week accolades. Ritter guided Groenewegen to Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Big Ten Pitcher of the Year honors in 2014, making the White Rock, B.C. native the third player in conference history to win both awards in the same season. Groenewegen finished the season with the nation's top strikeouts-per-seven-innings rate at 11.6 and was a top-10 finalist for the inaugural NFCA Freshman of the Year Award. She helped Groenewegen become the third player in conference history to win Big Ten Player, Pitcher and Freshman of the Year awards in her career after another solid season in 2015. Groenewegen was named a NFCA Second-Team All-American and finished the season with an ERA of 1.67, best in the Big Ten. The 2015 Gophers had more strikeouts than any other season and posted a team ERA of 2.34. Groenewegen graduated as the all-time Gophers strikeout leader with 1,214 in her career.

Ritter helped Minnesota make a dramatic turnaround by mentoring Moulton, who left Minnesota with program records for wins (112), appearances (178), innings pitched (1,017), complete games (108), no-hitters (five), shutouts (47), and at the time strikeouts (1,184). Moulton went on to earn NFCA Second Team All-America honors after being selected fifth overall in the 2013 National Pro Fastpitch College Draft. She was a four-time All-Big Ten honoree, a top-25 finalist for the 2014 NFCA National Player of the Year Award, and was a top-30 finalist for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award.

As a staff in 2014 Moulton, Groenewegen, and Nikki Anderson set single-season school records for shutouts with 22 and strikeouts with 487, both marks put the Gophers in the top three nationally during which led Minnesota to post its winningest season in 15 years. That season the Gophers captured the Big Ten Tournament title, and seal its first-ever NCAA super regional berth, posting a team ERA of 2.00.

In 2013, Moulton set Minnesota's single-season wins record with a 32-12 record, and tied another record with 14 shutouts. The All-Big Ten First team selection threw two consecutive no-hitters during the season. Moulton led the Big Ten in ERA (1.57), strikeouts (308), wins (32), starts (45) and innings pitched (275.5).


Ritter also tutored Hassett to one of the best seasons in program history in 2009. Hassett set program records by racking up 414 strikeouts and pitching 39 complete games. Her strikeout mark was more than 100 better than the previous record, set in 2004 by Ritter. Hassett also spent 307.0 innings in the circle in 2009, becoming just the second Golden Gopher ever to pitch over 300 innings in a season. Hassett thrived in two seasons under Ritter, finishing among the top-five in six career pitching categories, including a school record 88 complete games.

Ritter guided Hassett to a record-breaking 2008 season in her first year in charge of Minnesota's pitching staff. Hassett went 21-8 with a 1.82 earned run average that season. At the time, Hassett's 276 strikeouts were the third-most in a single season in Minnesota history, trailing only Ritter's totals of 311 during 2003 and 301 during 2002.

Academic Success 
Ritter has also been instrumental to Minnesota's success in the classroom, with 61 student-athletes earning Academic All-Big Ten honors over the past five seasons.

Playing Career
During her four-year playing career with the Gophers (2001-04), Ritter became one of the most accomplished pitchers in program history. She left the university with career records for strikeouts (1,122), innings pitched (921.1), games (173), wins (88), shutouts (33), and complete games (85). Her career strikeout mark ranked third all-time in the Big Ten and 14th in NCAA history. Ritter threw a record-tying five career no-hitters for the Gophers, including two perfect games.

Ritter earned All-Big Ten honors all four years at Minnesota, including a first-team selection in 2003 when she posted 11 shutouts and what was then a single-season record 311 strikeouts. She also garnered NFCA All-Mideast Region accolades three times during her career and led the Gophers to the NCAA Regional Tournament two times (2002 and 2003).

Personal
Prior to joining the staff at Minnesota, Ritter served as pitching coach at the University of Northern Colorado for the 2006 season and was an assistant at North St. Paul High School during 2005. After graduating from Minnesota in 2004 with a degree in Kinesiology, she played and coached for one season in the Netherlands. Ritter also played one season in the National Pro Fastpitch League for the Texas Thunder, posting a 3-0 record with a 0.64 ERA.

 

KATIE RIETKOVICH
ASSISTANT COACH

Katie Rietkovich was named to the Gopher softball staff on July 3, 2018 following a three year stint as a volunteer coach and camp coordinator at Ole Miss.

The Savannah, Georgia native played an integral role in coaching the Rebel slappers guiding two players into the professional ranks with a pair of players being selected in the inaugural ASBA draft. Rietkovich also guided Kylan Becker to become the first-ever Rebel to be selected to the USA Softball National Team.

"I am very excited and proud to join the Minnesota Family," said Rietkovich. "I would like to thank Coach Trachsel for giving me the opportunity to become a part of something so special. Minnesota is a national brand that continues to compete at the highest level and I am excited to have the opportunity to contribute to their success."

Prior to Ole Miss, Rietkovich spent one year as an assistant coach at Savannah State under head coach Jose Gonzalez.

Rietkovich made a few stops during her playing career starting at Georgia under head coach Lu Harris-Champer where was a part of the Bulldogs' third-place finish at the 2010 Women's College World Series. In addition she reached two NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals. After her stint at Georgia, she played in the NAIA at both South Carolina-Beaufort and Reinhardt University.

Rietkovich earned a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management from University of South Carolina - Beaufort in December of 2014. She completed her Master's Degree in Kinesiology from Georgia Southern in July 2016.

 

ALYSSA REINA
VOLUNTEER ASSISTANT COACH

Alyssa Reina is in her second season as a volunteer assistant coach joining the maroon and gold following a decorated playing career at North Dakota State University. During her five years as a member of the Bison squad, which included a 2014 redshirt year due to injury, she collected a career batting average of .314 and drove in 133 runs. Reina also ranks seventh all-time at NDSU in slugging percentage (.570), home runs (29) and putouts (1,069).  

"Minnesota softball has established itself as a core competitor within the softball world and I can't wait to be a part of their continued efforts to compete on a national level,” said Reina. “I am very thankful that not only do I get to coach some of the best players but coach with the best staff as well. Coach Trachsel is one of the greatest minds in the game and I look forward to continuing my journey with her along with learning from Coach Ritter. I hope to add value to the amazing culture that is Minnesota softball so that we continue to grow together."

She is no stranger to the coaching style of Trachsel, playing under the co-head coach from 2013-16. Reina during her time as an undergrad received numerous accolades including a three-time Summit League All-Tournament Team honor, 2015 Summit League Second Team, two-time NFCA All-American Scholar Athlete, 2015 NFCA all-Midwest Region Third Team, 2016 Summit League First Team and 2016 NFCA All-Midwest Region First Team.

In addition to individual accolades, Reina celebrated four regular season Summit League titles with her teammates and three conference tournament championships. The Bison appeared in the 2016 Seattle, Wash. NCAA Regional, 2015 Eugene, Ore. NCAA Regional and 2014 Minneapolis, Minn. NCAA Regional.

A native of Auburn, Calif., Reina graduated from North Dakota State in May of 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in public relations.

 

MICHAEL LEWIS
GRADUATE MANAGER

Michael Lewis is in his first season as the Gophers' Graduate Manager, following a three year stint at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC).

The Amboy, Minn. native spent two years as an assistant coach for UMKC following one year as the program’s Director of Softball Operations. As an assistant, Lewis managed the Kangaroo’s pitching staff, infield development, defensive game planning and opponent scouting. During his time as director of operations he assisted with team travel, player personnel and organization throughout the program.

“Being able to come back home and work for the University of Minnesota is an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day,” said Lewi. “I’m grateful to Coach Trachsel allowing me that opportunity and am extremely excited to get started.”

On the international scale, Lewis has enjoyed a fast pitch playing career as a member of the USA Softball team. Most recently he was named to the 34-man selection pool for the Men’s National Team after being a member of the 2012 Junior Men’s National Team who placed fifth at the World Championships in Parana, Argentina. In 2016 Lewis also assisted the coaching staff of the Junior Men’s National Team at the World Championships in Midland, Mich.

Lewis is also currently a player and general manager for the Fargo Kegel Black Knights Softball Club playing in premiere fast pitch tournaments around the country.