Jessica Allister named Minnesota softball coach
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – University of Minnesota director of athletics Joel Maturi announced the hiring of Jessica Allister as the head coach of the Golden Gophers softball program Tuesday, making the former Oregon assistant and All-American catcher from Stanford the sixth head coach in Minnesota history.
“I could not be more pleased to announce the hiring of Jessica Allister as the head softball coach at the University of Minnesota,” said Maturi. “Jessica has helped build winning programs throughout her career as both a player and a coach, and I am confident she will do the same here. Best of all she is excited about the opportunity we have at the University of Minnesota. We are thrilled that she will be leading our softball program.”
Allister is the daughter of Derek and Joann Allister of South Lake Tahoe. Derek is the former boys’ basketball coach at South Tahoe High, while Joann previously served as the Vikings’ softball coach.
One of the nation’s top softball coaches, Allister helped lead three different programs to Super Regional appearances in the past four years with five trips in a six-year stretch. A proven developer of talent, Allister has groomed numerous student-athletes into elite softball players, including 10 NFCA All-Americans, and has consistently helped build nationally ranked programs throughout her career.
“I am thrilled to be the next head softball coach at the University of Minnesota,” Allister said. “I would like to thank Joel Maturi, Regina Sullivan and Marc Ryan for giving me this great opportunity and for entrusting me with the Gopher softball program. The University of Minnesota has a long-standing tradition of academic and athletic excellence. I look forward to building on and adding to that tradition. I am excited to get on campus and can’t wait to meet the team. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we are going to hit the ground running in preparation for the year ahead.”
The Nacogdoches, Texas native served as an assistant at Oregon in 2010 when she helped coach the Ducks to one of the best seasons in program history, including their first-ever Super Regional berth. While in Eugene, Allister assisted in all aspects of the softball program with an emphasis on hitting, catching and outfielders. Off the field, Allister acted as recruiting and travel coordinator as well as program’s primary contact for admissions, compliance and eligibility.
Prior to joining the staff at Oregon, Allister spent three years at her alma mater, Stanford University, where she was an assistant coach on a Cardinal staff that earned honors as the 2009 NFCA West Regional Coaching Staff of the Year. During her tenure in Palo Alto, Allister worked with the Cardinal catchers and coached Rosey Neill to 2008 and 2009 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year honors. In addition to her role working with the team’s catchers, Allister also served as Stanford’s first base coach and assisted with hitting and recruiting. During her tenure with the team, Stanford earned three straight NCAA tournament bids and made a pair of Super Regional appearances in 2008 and 2009.
Allister’s first coaching position was with Georgia, where she served as an assistant for the 2005 and 2006 seasons. During her stint with the Bulldogs, the team enjoyed two of its most successful seasons ever, earning two NCAA tournament berths and winning the 2005 SEC Championship. That same year, the Bulldogs led the SEC and ranked sixth nationally in batting (.317).
As a player, Allister put together one of Stanford’s all-time great careers, earning All-America honors as a senior in 2004 and leading the Cardinal to a pair of Women’s College World Series appearances (2001, 2004). A three-time All-Pac-10 honoree and a four-year starter, Allister owns Stanford’s career records for games played (266) and fielding percentage (.994). She also ranks among the program’s top 10 for career hits, doubles, home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage and putouts.
As a final accolade for her college career, Allister was named the 2004 Stanford Conference Female Athlete of the Year.
Allister graduated from Stanford in 2004 with a degree in economics and played professionally as a member of the New England Riptide of the National Pro Fastpitch League in 2004 and 2005.
Allister takes over for co-head coaches Lisa Bernstein and Julie Standering, whose contracts were not renewed after the 2010 season, which saw the Gophers post a 16-37 overall and 2-17 Big Ten records.
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