JUST 12 WINS AWAY
There is no doubting what head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf has accomplished in her 23 seasons at Florida State. The one and only coach in Seminole softball history has won two slowpitch national titles, taken FSU to 14 NCAA Regionals and five Women’s College World Series, won eight ACC Titles, coached 21 All-Americans, been named ACC Coach of the Year four times and never had a single losing season in 23 years. While every one of those feats is impressive, none can match the record she is about to set.
With just 12 more wins, Graf will break the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) record for career victories and will do it in almost five fewer years than the current record holder Judi Garman of Cal St. Fullerton. Graf enters the 2002 season with 1113 wins of which 894 have come during fastpitch competition. She also appears in the top 10 of every NCAA coaching record and is in the top 4 in five of those six categories.
Is it a coincidence or what that just as Dr. JoAnne Graf prepares to make softball history this season, she will have the opportunity to face as many as three other coaches that appear on the NFCA top 10 All-Time wins list.
In just the season’s second weekend, coach Graf and the Seminoles will welcome three other 2001 NCAA Tournament teams to Tallahassee for the Seminole Challenge. Amongst that group will be No. 23 South Carolina coached by Joyce Compton. When the Seminoles and Gamecocks meet at 1:00 p.m. February 9, the two coaches on the field will have more than 1917 wins combined. That’s amazing!
Coach Graf will also face Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso, who fourth on the NCAA’s Winningest Active Coaches (by percentage) list, when FSU travels to one of the nation’s toughest tournaments at the vaunted Kia Classic. Depending how things go at the Kia, Graf could also run into Arizona coach Mike Candrea (No. 2) and Margie Wright (No. 6) who both appear on that same list.
NCAA DI Winningest Active Coaches (by percentage)
1. Sue Enguist (UCLA) 641-123 .839 2. Mike Candera (Arizona) 871-172 .835 3. JoAnne Graf (FSU) 1113-271 .766 4. Patty Gasso (Oklahoma) 353-110 .763 5. Yvette Girouard (LSU) 818-261 .758 6. Margie Wright (Fresno) 980-323 .752 7. Joyce Compton (S. Car) 804-325 .712
After weather forced the cancellation of games versus Cal State Fullerton and possible match-ups with Utah and Michigan at the Tallahassee Democrat/Seminole Invitational last season, FSU faces an ever more daunting schedule in 2002.
The 15th-ranked Seminoles are scheduled to face No. 7 and 2001 College World Series participant Oklahoma, No. 9 Washington, No. 10 Cal-State Fullerton and No. 22 South Carolina. Florida State will also face four other teams that are receiving votes in the first USAToday/NFCA Preseason Poll. The Seminoles are slated to play Texas (No. 27), Florida Atlantic (No. 30), North Carolina (No. 31) and Virginia (No. 33).
It is possible FSU could also end up facing No. 1 and defending National Champion Arizona, No. 11 Michigan, No. 12 Nebraska and No. 16 Fresno State. That is a total of eight ranked teams and three College World Series teams from 2001. The Seminoles will see 13 opponents that played in the 2001 NCAA Tourney.
Senior Kimmy Carter is 59 games away from entering the All-Time games played list for FSU Softball. She has averaged 66 games per year in her three years with the team.
Carter is also 162 at bats away from becoming a career leader for Florida State in that category. She has averaged 180 at bats per season in her previous three years.
Carter and junior Brandi Stuart are both nearing career records for runs scored. Carter is 41 runs away after scoring 38 times in 2001. Stuart has two seasons to secure the 43 runs she needs to make it on to the list. At her current pace, Stuart will end up second All-Time by the time her career is over with 178 runs.
Carter and Stuart should both find themselves on FSU’s career list for hits also by the time the season is over. Carter needs just 55 this season after posting 64 her junior year. Stuart could end up as FSU’s All-Time hits leader when all is said and done. At her current pace she would finish her career with 304 hits, which is just six hits shy of No. 1 on the list.
Carter, Stuart Jessica van der Linden and Monique Marier are also zeroing on the record for All-Time doubles after the 2001 squad set a record with 93 last season. Carter is just three away from making it on the list and if she repeats her effort of nine from 2001 she will end up third on the all-time list. Marier and van der Linden each launched 14 last year (the second most in team history) and are just 10 away from reaching the all time list. Van der Linden is on pace to shatter the record of 38 after her record freshman season. Stuart is also on pace to take over first after recording 18 doubles in just two seasons.
The same duo of Carter and Stuart are also nearing the triples record. Carter is three away and Stuart has two seasons to record eight more.
Brandi Stuart has already amassed 72 steals in just two seasons. She is already fifth on the All-Time steals list and is projected to finish third All-Time with 144 swipes.
Here they go again. Carter and Stuart are closing in on the All-Time RBI record also. At her current pace, Carter could finish her career tied for fourth and needs just 14 to break onto the All-Time list. Stuart is just 25 away from making the RBI list and has posted 36 RBIs in back-to-back seasons. If she does that over the next two years, Stuart will end up FSU’s All-Time RBI leader.
While Brandi Stuart and Kimmy Carter are in the midst of launching an offensive assault against the Florida State All-Time record book, Leslie Malerich is doing the same but from the mound. The senior All-American, barring unforeseen circumstances, will end up on every All-Time list in the Florida State record books. She already appears on three of the five lists and has a shot to end up No. 1 in most of the categories. Here is a look at where she currently stands:
Malerich is currently third All-Time and will move into a tie for second when she starts the Seminoles season-opener versus Georgia Southern. Her 124 appearances are just 11 shy of tying the mark set last season by Jen White-Stokes.
She is currently fifth on the list with 673.1 innings pitched. Debbie DeJohn owns the FSU recorded with 798, which puts Malerich just 125 innings behind the former Seminole star. Malerich has never pitched less than 145 innings in a season so she will likely own that record also when the 2002 season comes to an end.
This is the only All-Time pitching record that the All-American hasn’t cracked into yet but she will probably end up No. 1 after 2002. Malerich is just 19 wins away from becoming the winningest pitcher in FSU history and she has averaged 30 wins over the past two seasons.
This is one of just two categories Malerich probably won’t finish No. 1 but she will end up in the top four. She currently sits fifth on the list with 496 K’s but she is still 538 behind the All-Time leader (Julie Larsen). Malerich needs just six strikeouts to take over fourth place and then can set her sights on Toni Guiterrez who sits in third place with 648 strikeouts.
Malerich has already recorded 33 shutouts in her career and if she just makes her average of 11, she will become one of the career leaders in this category also. She could conceivably move up to third if she matches her career-high total of 16 shutouts set during her junior season.
Earned Run Average:
This might be the toughest category of all for the senior. Despite a sparkling 0.72 ERA last season, she still needs to drop her career ERA from 1.24 to 0.84 to get on this list.
When senior Monique Marier came to FSU last season as a Junior College transfer and the leading home run hitter in the nation in 1999, people expected to see some power and Marier didn’t disappoint. She led FSU in homers (6), RBIs (38), slugging percentage (.565) and she had the second-most doubles in a season with 14. Unlike many power hitters around the nation, Marier also hit for average during her first season of D1 softball as evidenced by her .313 average, fifth on the team. After ‘adjusting’ to the D1 game last year, its scary to think what she will have in store for 2002.
THAT SOUNDS FAMILIAR
If the last name of two of FSU’s newcomers, Shandra and Shundra Colzie, sounds familiar, it should. The twins from Miami are the sisters of four-time letterwinner James Colzie who played football at Florida State from 1993-96. Colzie played in 10 of the Seminoles 11 games as a senior in 1996 and was tied for the team lead with three interceptions. James Colzie is currently the defensive backs coach for the FIU Golden Panthers who will play their first season of football this fall.
With the addition of California natives Tatiana George and Bryttani Lindheim, one-third of FSU’s roster is now made up of Cali-kids. The West Coast has long been fertile ground for the nation’s top softball players and FSU has increased its presence in the area especially over the last two seasons. In 2001, the Seminoles landed three top prospects from the Golden State in Julie Jordan, Elisa Velasco and ACC Rookie of the Year Jessica van der Linden. They joined All-American junior Brandi Stuart who hails from Cerritos, CA. With seven players from the state of Florida, California is gaining on the Sunshine State when it comes to Seminole Softball.
DOUBLE DARE YA
The 2001 season was a great one for Seminole softball in many aspects. The team was ranked from wire-to-wire once again and made a return trip to an NCAA Regional final. The Seminoles also captured the NCAA’s ERA crown but what this team did when it comes to doubles was amazing.
In 2001, FSU shattered the team’s doubles record set in 1999 when the squad hit 71 on the season. Last year’s team hit an amazing 93. The 2001 Seminoles also had two players come within two doubles of tying the All-Time record for doubles in a season when Monique Marier and Jessica van der Linden each hit 14 two-baggers.
Junior All-American Brandi Stuart is on the verge of re-writing the FSU record books and she still has two seasons left. The newly elected co-captain is coming off her best season ever and has a chance to own almost every offensive record in Seminole softball history.
After a stellar rookie campaign, Stuart improved in almost every category during the 2001 campaign. She raised her batting average 12 percentage points from .349 to .361, scored 10 more runs (49 versus 39), doubled her doubles (from 6 to 12) and hit more than twice as many homeruns (5 compared to 2). She equaled her RBI total of 36 and raised her slugging percentage from .442 to .515, an increase of 73 percentage points. She also cut down on her strikeouts by almost 38% (from 34 to 21). Stuart also was more patient at the plate garnering 11 more walks in 2001 (28 versus 17).
Another area of Stuart’s game that is often overlooked is her ability to steal bases. In two seasons, she has amassed 72 swipes. That is just 25 behind All-American Serita Brooks’ total from her two years at Florida State and she is considered by many to be one of the top base-stealers in Seminole history. Brooks currently holds three different NCAA records for stolen bases.
At her current pace, Stuart will finish in the top two for runs scored, first in doubles, fifth in triples, third in steals and first in RBIs amongst FSU’s All-Time leaders. She would single-handedly wipe away almost 20 years of history. That’s impressive.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT 72?
One of the oddest statistical coincidences concerns the number 72 in Brandi Stuart’s stats. The junior co-captain has 72 RBIs and 72 steals in her two seasons at FSU. Since there seems to be no correlation ground between the categories, it is a little strange that after finishing her freshman season with 36 RBIs and 42 steals she would go on to end up on 72 in both of those categories after her sophomore year.
CAN SHE KEEP IT UP?
Projecting career numbers for Brandi Stuart is a little risky with two years still to play but it is downright dangerous to do that for Jessica van der Linden but… In her first season, the ACC Rookie of the Year already set the record for the most no-hitters in a single year with three. If you project that number for four years, nobody in FSU history would be close to her 12. Her 14 doubles, the second-most in a single season, would project to 56 for her career, which would shatter the record of 38 set by Corrie Williams from 1996-99.
With their Top 15 finish in 2001, the Seminole softball team has now finished in the Top 15 in 12 of the past 16 seasons…no ACC school has more Player, Rookie and Coach of the year honorees than FSU.