If you know anything about softball, you must have heard about the Arizona sun devils, the top team in the ASU softball scene. Below we will discuss in detail why they are such a great team and what makes them unique.
Arizona State Sun Devils: Who Are They?
The Arizona State Sun Devils fastball team represents NCAA Division I college softball. Playing their home games at Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, the club participates in the Pac-12 Conference.
As head coach of the Sun Devils softball from 2006 to 2013, Clint Myers led the club to the Women’s College World Series six times. In 2008 and 2011, the Sun Devils’ squad won the National Championship.
What Is The Pac-12 Conference?
The Pac-12 League is an NCAA Division I college athletic conference based on the West Coast of the United States. With the Football Bowl Subdivision replacing Division I-A, it is now home to the nation’s best collegiate football teams.
Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, and Washington make up the 12 members. Four other public institutions and two private research universities are included in the list, in addition to the state’s premier public university.
An Overview of ASU Softball’s Past Performance
- Beginning In The 1960s and the 1970s
In the early 1970s, many of the greatest players in the nation chose to attend Arizona State University softball and play for the Sun Devils. Softball has been a part of the Sun Devils’ program since 1967. Mary Littlewood, the club’s head coach in the 1970s, had established the squad as a dominant force in the sport.
In addition to Paula Miller and Marilyn Rau were Ginger Kurtz and Judy Hoke. All of these ladies were Amateur Softball Association All-Americans at some point in their careers.
The women’s College World Series was not organized by the NCAA but by the AAIAW and the Amateur Softball Association. The 1972 and 1973 teams won, and the softball squad grew steadily throughout the 1970s. They founded this organization in 1975 and have been members ever since.
The Sun Devils competed in the AIAW Women’s College World Series every year from 1976 to 1979, finishing fourth twice (in 1976 and 1977) and ninth twice (in 1978 and 1979) in the competition. In 1977 and 1978, the Sun Devils won the Intermountain Conference title for the first time.
- Period From 1979 to 1991
Throughout the 1980s, Mary Littlewood served as the head coach of the Arizona State softball team. AZ State joined the WCA in 1980 and was the conference champion that year. Softball became the first sport to be sponsored by the NCAA on January 1, 1982. In its debut year, the NCAA Women’s College World Series was attended by the 1982 Sun Devil softball team. That year, they finished fourth in the league standings.
During the 1984-1987 period, ASU had four consecutive NCAA Regional appearances and placed seventh in the Women’s College World Series in 1987. With Arizona State being a member of the Pac-10 Conference in 1986, softball play started in the conference, and they finished second in their first two seasons in the new league.
It was in 1989 when Mary Littlewood decided to hang up her cleats and retire from coaching. On top of her 493 victories and three conference titles, she also made 13 postseason appearances, nine of which were in the Women’s College World Series.
As Littlewood’s replacement in 1990, Arizona State recruited Minnesota native Linda Wells. The Sun Devils won 43 games in her first two seasons with the club and advanced to the NCAA Regionals each year. The 1991 squad finished second in the Pac-10 Conference with a record of 15-5, good enough for a playoff berth.
After the 1991 season, the Sun Devils’ softball squad started slightly deteriorating. In 1993, they won a Regional, but they didn’t win another until 1997. Women’s College World Series 7th place and 41-28 in 1999 marked a turning point in the program’s history.
- Rise In The 2000s
Arizona State received NCAA Tournament invites for the next five years, including an appearance in the Women’s College World Series in 2002 and just losing out on a chance to compete for a national title in the NCAA Division I Women’s Division.
Wells declared her retirement from basketball after the 2005 NCAA Tournament after a defeat to Hofstra. She concluded her Sun Devils career with 563 victories, one more than Mary Littlewood’s record at the institution, and two trips to the Women’s College World Series.
As a result of hiring Clint Myers as the new head coach, the program has been lifted to a new level. In his debut season, the Sun Devils won 53 games, a school record, and went to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
The Sun Devils have reached the Women’s College World Series in five of his few seasons. Also, in 2008, Myers led the Sun Devils to their first-ever Pac-10 Conference title. The Sun Devils had four consecutive trips to the Women’s College World Series towards the end of the 2000s. A softball team from the university won their first-ever NCAA Championship in 2008.
- Mark in The 2008 National Championship
There were just five defeats for the 2008 Sun Devil softball team, which set a school record of 66 victories. On the road to winning the Pac-10 title, they put a school record of 18 achievements. They started the NCAA tournament with the sixth-best seed in the country and hosted the Regional and Super Regional rounds as well.
The squad beat Stony Brook and Hawaii twice to secure a position in the Super Regionals. They won the Northwestern Wildcats 3-1 and 9-0 in the first two games of the Tempe Super Regional against the 11th-seeded team. Arizona State beat three-seeded Alabama 3-1 in the first game of the 2008 Women’s College World Series.
The Sun Devils needed three runs in the seventh inning to defeat the Crimson Tide. Their next challenge was a rematch with Alabama in the National Semifinals, when they were beaten this time by a score of 4-0. The Sun Devils beat Alabama 3-1 to earn a berth in the College Football Playoff semifinals, where they will face the Texas A&M Aggies.
The Sun Devils defeated the Aggies 3-0 in the opening game. ASU claimed its first national title after defeating Aggies 11-0 in the tournament’s second game, which was the most significant loss in a final match in WCW history.
- State In The 2010s
The softball team at Arizona State University is still one of the finest in the nation. First time in Clint Myers’s tenure that the Sun Devils did not advance to the Women’s College World Series in 2010 as they fell in the NCAA Gainesville Super Regional against the Florida Gators.
The Sun Devils won their second Pac-10 title in 2011 and were seeded first in the NCAA tournament due to their success. After defeating Texas A&M in the Tempe Super Regional, the Sun Devils won a berth in the 2011 Women’s College World Series.
Following the WCWS sweep, the Sun Devils beat the Florida Gators in two games to win the NCAA title in 2011. At the time of the triumph, Arizona State was just the fourth softball team in NCAA history to win multiple national championships, joining Arizona, Texas A&M, and UCLA.
This is all you need to know about the ASU softball situation and its rise to glory. The ASU softball team, the sun devils, are a remarkable team with a considerable influence over the game of softball, and knowing their history is essential for any softball fan.