Southern Illinois University Edwardsville coach notches 1,000th win
When asked what she likes best about coaching, Sandy Montgomery, softball head coach at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), said there is nothing better than winning.
She should know because she seems to be good at it.
With the Cougars' 4-2 victory over Holy Cross on March 10 in Clearwater, Fla., Montgomery earned her 1,000th head-coaching win, making her the 32nd head coach among all divisions of college softball to hit the milestone and the 13th among NCAA Division I coaches.
Montgomery told the Metro East Sun that joining the 1,000-win club means having a winning culture and “a lot of great people surrounding us all the time.”
“That’s the only way you get to this type of a milestone as a program because you have a lot of great players, a great coaching staff and a lot of support from the administration,” she said. “I’ve prided myself on a winning tradition and a winning culture here for quite some time.”
Montgomery led the Cougars to 35 wins in 1989, her first season as head coach after completing her master's degree in physical education at SIUE, according the Cougars' official website. Since then, SIUE has won 30 or more games 20 times in 29 seasons, including nine seasons of 40 or more wins and the Division II national championship in 2007.
“I probably hate losing more than I like winning, and that motivates me to continue to try to improve as a coach and continue to try to make the program better,” Montgomery said. “I love being around the kids and the team atmosphere is great, especially if you have good team chemistry, which is something that we pride our program on as well.”
Montgomery's softball journey began with pitching with her dad, a fastpitch catcher, when she was 5 or 6 years old, she said. She went through the softball program at Casey (Ill.) High School before coming to SIUE and notching an 84-26 pitching record with 42 shutouts as a Cougar.
The game has not changed much, Montgomery said, but the players and tools have.
“The kids are a lot bigger and stronger and game-savvy,” she said. “The technology has changed. The bats are hotter. The ball is harder. It’s just a product of sport and the evolution of it over time.”
The Cougars are 19-4 this season, and Montgomery said she liked the team's chemistry to start the season.
“I believe that we’ve got all the tools that you need to be a championship team, and it’s just a matter of getting the breaks and continuing to play well,” she said. “Hopefully you peak at the right time at the end of the year.”
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Edwardsville, IL 62025