Northwestern Wildcats softball

Northwestern Wildcats softball
Northwestern Wildcats
University Northwestern University
Conference Big Ten
Location Evanston, IL
Head Coach Kate Drohan (7th year)
Home Stadium Sharon J. Drysdale Field
(Capacity: 1,000)
Nickname Wildcats
Colors Purple and White


WCWS Appearances
1984, 1985, 1986, 2006, 2007
NCAA Tournament Appearances
1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
Conference Champions
1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 2006

The Northwestern Wildcats softball team is a NCAA Division I college softball team and part of the Big Ten Conference. They play their home games at Sharon J. Drysdale Field in Evanston, Illinois. They have an overall record of 836-629-4.



The program was founded in 1976, posting a 1-6 record, and was coached by Mary Conway. Conway coached for 3 years until Sharon J. Drysdale took the helm in 1979. Drysdale arrived at Northwestern in 1979 and spent the next 23 season building a program that would see 14 .500-plus seasons under her tutelage. By 1984, Drysdale had taken a program still in its infancy and earned a berth to the NCAA championships. They finished a then-program-best third that season, setting a Women's College World Series benchmark that no Big Ten team would surpass for two decades. She would return to the Women's College World Series two more times in her career, adding a fifth-place finish in 1985 and sixth-place finish in 1986. Drysdale's 'Cats also reached regional playoffs two times- 1987 and 2000. Named Big Ten Coach of the Year three teams (1984, 1987, and 1995), Drysdale reached many personal milestones in the latter portion of her career. She hit the 500-victory mark in a 4-0 win over Loyola-Chicago on April 10, 1996. And in her final year at the helm she picked up win 700 in a 4-2 decision over Indiana. However, Drysdale says the honors and awards earned by her players mean more to her than her own. There were 5 All-Americans, 2 Big Ten Players of the Year, 4 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, 31 NFCA All-Mideast Region players, and 36 All-Big Ten honorees. Her tenure also included one of the most decorated pitchers in collegiate softball. Lisa Ishikawa was a three-time All-American and during her freshman year she shattered the NCAA mark for strikeouts in a single season with 469. That year alone, she was named Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year, Big Ten Player of the Year, Big Ten Pitcher Year, and Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Off the field, Drysdale was actively involved in NCAA softball rules interpretation. She chaired the NCAA rules committee and was a member of the NFCA Bylaws committee. Drysdale literally wrote the rulebook for college softball. Currently, she serves as head coach of the New England Riptide in National Professional Fastpitch.

Current Team

In 2002, Kate Drohan, former assistant coach under Sharon Drysdale, assumed head coaching duties. Drohan brought on board associate head coach, and twin sister, Caryl Drohan. After just five seasons as Northwestern's head coach, Kate Drohan's Wildcats have a Big Ten Title, two Women's College World Series Appearances (including one National Championship appearance), six All-America nods, three Big Ten Freshman of the Year awards, three Big Ten Player of the Year awards, and two Big Ten Pitcher of the Year accolades. Her 2006 coaching staff- including Caryl Drohan, Tori Nyberg, and Amanda Rivera- was the Speedline/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Coaching Staff of the Year.


On May 3, 2001, Anderson Field was renamed Sharon J. Drysdale Field in honor of her 23-year commitment as the Wildcats' head coach. For 1,155 games, Drysdale headed the Northwestern softball program and amassed a 640-512-3 record while sending 5 squads to the NCAA Tournament. Drysdale left Northwestern after the 2001 season to pursue a coaching certification program with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), but her legacy continues to live on at Northwestern. As of Fall 2007, the field is undergoing renovations that will see a new and improved bleacher seating area as well as an enclosed press box to replace the press tent of the past.

Wildcat Honors


  • 1982 Sue Hebson (2nd)
  • 1984 Lisa Ishikawa
  • 1985 Lisa Ishikawa
  • 1987 Lisa Ishikawa (2nd)
  • 1993 Anne Carpenter (3rd)
  • 2005 Garland Cooper, Stephanie Churchwell (2nd), Courtnay Foster (3rd)
  • 2006 Eileen Canney (2nd), Garland Cooper (3rd), Tammy Williams (3rd)

CoSIDA Academic All-District V

  • 1989 Chinazo Opia
  • 1990 Kim Metcalf, Chinazo Opia
  • 2002 Lauren Schwendimann (2nd)
  • 2003 Erin Mobley
  • 2004 Carri Leto
  • 2005 Garland Cooper, Erin Mobley
  • 2006 Kristen Amegin, Garland Cooper

CoSIDA Academic All-America

  • 2006 Garland Cooper (3rd)

NFCA All-America Scholar-Athletes

  • 1994 Angela Alessandrini, Shannon Norton
  • 1995 Angela Alessandrini, Jennifer Coon, Susan Hofbauer
  • 1996 Katie Ballman, Peggy Mandel, Erin Robson
  • 1997 Katie Ballman, Lauri Gillis, Tricia Kay, Erin Robson
  • 1998 Stacy Austin, Kathryn Breneman
  • 1999 Jenni Beseres

Big Ten Pitcher of the Year

  • 1984 Lisa Ishikawa
  • 2006 Eileen Canney
  • 2007 Eileen Canney

Women's College World Series All-Tournament Team

  • 1984 Lisa Ishikawa
  • 2006 Eileen Canney, Garland Cooper, Tammy Williams

Big Ten Player of the Year

  • 1984 Lisa Ishikawa
  • 1985 Lisa Ishikawa
  • 2000 Brooke Siebel
  • 2005 Garland Cooper
  • 2006 Garland Cooper
  • 2007 Garland Cooper

Big Ten Freshman of the Year

  • 1984 Lisa Ishikawa
  • 1986 Ndidi Opia
  • 1987 Chinazo Opia
  • 1998 Brooke Siebel
  • 2004 Eileen Canney
  • 2006 Tammy Williams
  • 2007 Nicole Pauly

Wildcats in National Professional Fastpitch

  • Carri Leto

In 2004, Carri Leto became the first NU female student-athlete to be drafted by a professional franchise. Leto began her professional career with the N.Y./N.J. Juggernaut of National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) and then moved to the Philadelphia Force after two seasons. She is a three-time NPF All-Star and was the named the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2006. She now plays for the New England Riptide.

  • Caryl Drohan

Current Associate Head Coach Caryl Drohan was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Force in 2006. In 2007, she will serve as an assistant coach for the Chicago Bandits.

  • Courtnay Foster

In 2006, Courtnay Foster was drafted in the NPF, but she elected not to play.

  • Eileen Canney

Canney was the second overall pick, and the first pitcher selected, in the 2007 draft. She will play for the New England Riptide.

  • Garland Cooper

Cooper was the fourth overall pick in the 2007 draft. She will join current teammate Eileen Canney and former teammate Carri Leto on the New England Riptide, which is coached by legendary former NU coach Sharon Drysdale.

Source of Information

2007 Northwestern Softball Media Guide

See also

External links

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