On Thursday, June 23, 2011, Mississippi State University and Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin announced Vann Stuedeman as its new softball coach. Stuedeman joined the Bulldogs after serving 11 seasons as the pitching coach at the University of Alabama, where she helped the Crimson Tide claim three Southeastern Conference regular-season titles en route to reaching the Women's College World Series six times. Stuedeman, a native of Vestavia Hills, Ala., becomes the fifth head softball coach in school history.
"Vann has four traits we value - a strong work ethic, competitive intensity, intelligence and the ability to communicate and sell," Stricklin said. "Of course, she is one of the preeminent pitching coaches in the nation, but it's her vision for the future and the enthusiasm she displays for building our program that makes her the best fit to be Mississippi State's softball coach."
As an assistant coach since 2001, Stuedeman helped the Tide go 579-150 over the last 11 seasons (.794), including a sparkling 243-70 record inside the notoriously tough SEC. Stuedeman anchored a staff that had an earned run average under two in eight of her 11 campaigns, struck out an average of 485 batters per season over that stretch and held opponents scoreless in 221 games. The 2011 staff led the SEC in ERA, giving Crimson and White five of the past six seasons with an ERA in the top 20 nationally.
For the past seven-consecutive seasons, Stuedeman has coached an All-American pitcher, with her tenure in Tuscaloosa producing a total six All-American pitchers with 11 All-America and All-SEC honors. Under her instruction, Tide pitchers registered a whopping 23 no hitters, including three perfect games. Three times during her stay 90 miles east of Starkville, Stuedeman coached three SEC Pitchers of the Year, while racking up 19 SEC Pitcher of the Week honors. In addition to the aforementioned accolades, the first-year head coach also coached two SEC Freshman of the Year and one SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player.
In 2011, Stuedeman tutored a pitching staff that finished with a 1.69 ERA, a 53-10 record and a third-place finish at the Women's College World Series. The staff included a pair of All-American pitchers in senior Kelsi Dunne and freshman Jackie Traina. Dunne capped off her stellar career with a 29-5 record and a 1.42 ERA. The right-hander struck out 331 batters, which were the fourth most in a single season at Alabama while holding opponents to a school record .146 average. Dunne also tossed three no-hitters and posted 11 shutouts. Traina posted a 19-5 record with a 1.70 ERA, adding 190 strikeouts in 156.1 innings. She also threw a no-hitter and three shutouts while collecting four saves.
Prior to joining Patrick Murphy's staff at Alabama, Stuedeman coached at West Alabama, Alabama-Huntsville and East Limestone High School. A native of Birmingham, she's a 1994 graduate of Huntingdon College, where she was an important member in the Hawks' two third-place finishes at the national tournament (1992, 1994). The 1994 All-American was inducted into her alma mater's Hall of Fame on Oct. 8, 2011.
She went on to become a graduate assistant at the University of West Alabama while earning her master's degree in Elementary Education. While at West Alabama, Stuedeman helped lead the team to the Gulf South Conference Championship in 1995, while the team's head coach was away from the team on maternity leave. The championship was the first in the '90s for the West Alabama program and the first winning season of the decade as well.
After spending two seasons at UWA, Stuedeman went to the University of Alabama-Huntsville for the next three years as an assistant coach for her sister, Les Stuedeman. Her main priority was working with the pitchers and outfielders.
During her stint there, the UAH pitching staff ranked in the top five nationally in Division II in ERA all three seasons. She helped lead the program to two Gulf South Conference championships, three NCAA Regional appearances and a trip to the 1999 Division II National Tournament.
She was also a part of the staff that was named South Region Coaching Staff of the Year in 1999. She then accepted the head coaching position at East Limestone High School, in Limestone County, where she led the team to its first winning season since 1994, finishing one game shy of the state tournament.
"I would like to thank Scott Stricklin, Ann Carr and Mississippi State University for the opportunity to lead the Bulldog softball program," Stuedeman said. "Scott's passion and vision for Mississippi State softball are infectious and I am thrilled to join his efforts in creating a presence in the SEC and on the national platform. I'm eager to begin building a lasting relationship with the student athletes, the city of Starkville and the all the fans in OUR State."
VANN'S PITCHERS BY THE NUMBERS
23 ............. No Hitters
19 ............. SEC Pitchers of the Week
14 ............. All-South Region Honors
11 ............. All-America Honors
11 ............. All-SEC Honors
7 ................ Straight Seasons w/AA Honor
5................. National Players of the Week
3 ................ SEC Pitchers of the Year
3................. Perfect Games
2................. SEC Freshman of the Year
1 ................ SEC Tournament MVP
THE VANN STUEDEMAN FILE
Birthdate: Sept. 11, 1972 in Birmingham, Ala.
Hometown: Vestavia Hills, Ala.
Education: Bachelor of Accounting, Huntingdon College, 1994
Master's in Elementary Education, West Alabama, 1996
Hired as Head Coach: June 23, 2011
Graduate Assistant, West Alabama, 1995-96
Assistant Coach, Alabama-Huntsville, 1997-99
Head Coach, East Limestone County HS, 1999-2000
Assistant Coach, Alabama, 2000-11
Head Coach, Mississippi State, 2011-Present
Vestavia Hills HS, 1986-90
Huntington College, 1991-94
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT VANN STUEDEMAN
"You don't have to spend much time with Vann Stuedeman to understand how passionate the first-year leader is about her new program. It's an energy that transcends every fiber of her being and it's hard to imagine that her team wouldn't be successful. It's more than a job to Stuedeman, it appears to be her calling. It extends beyond a job and into every aspect of her life." - Sean Cartell, SEC Digital Network
"I'm having trouble understanding as a parent how you wouldn't be drawn to Vann if she came into your living room and said, 'I want your daughter to come play for me.' She has the personality to not only adapt to the kids in this generation, but also give comfort to the parents. When parents decide which coach to have their daughter play softball under, I can't think of a logical reason why Vann wouldn't be high on that list." - Matthew Stevens, Commercial Dispatch
"I have not heard anyone talk about Vann Stuedeman without people talking about how excited and motivated they are by her. She's not just someone who has a lot of energy that people like; she's going to be a great coach. If I had a daughter, Vann would be at the top of the list of people I'd trust to coach my daughter." - Bob Carskadon, Bulldog Sports Radio
"Watching Stuedeman work a room, it is easy to be impressed. She believes she is the right coach, the right recruiter and the right leader to help MSU climb the ladder in the Southeastern Conference." - Adam Minichino, Commercial Dispatch
"She exudes energy. There is nothing about her that doesn't draw people in to her. We needed someone with passion; we needed someone who had a lot of energy. We want someone who is going to be very committed to our institution, our young ladies and our program. I think anybody can see that in Vann." - Ann Carr, Senior Associate A.D./Women's Sports, Student-Athlete Services
"Sometimes a team just needs something to get them headed in the right direction. Whether it is a great X's and O's coach or a shot of enthusiasm there is usually something missing. Mississippi State feels like they found the missing piece of their softball puzzle when they hired Vann Stuedeman to lead the Bulldogs in the right direction." - John Farley, BulldawgJunction.com
"I'm not sure if there's a better all-around coach than Vann Stuedeman." - Jonathan Barden, Co-Host of The Sports Zone TV Show
"I just love Coach Steudeman's drive and passion. She loves the game like we do. She is the kind of coach that makes you want to work harder for her. MSU couldn't have made a better choice. She has helped me with her knowledge of the game. Her pitch calling will be huge for us. She is teaching me what pitches to call in certain situations and that will help me in the long run. I think we can make it to the World Series. Coach has all the tools to get us there. Our future is very bright. Coach Steudeman will make us one of the best programs in the country." - Sam Lenahan, 2011 All-SEC Freshman Catcher
"Coach Vann is awesome. The whole mental aspect around here has changed. She has changed the attitude here and it's been so great. Coach Stuedeman just has this unbelievable drive. She is very goal oriented. She is so determined to succeed. Her enthusiasm just rubs off on you. She has taught me personally the whole mental part of pitching. She is very knowledgeable about pitching, but more than just the pitches and how to throw them. She has taught me to stay tough, mentally. She has me forgetting about the last pitch if it doesn't go my way and focus on the next pitch. She has been great for me individually as well." - Stephanie Becker, MSU Pitcher
"Coach Stuedeman has so much energy. She speaks her mind and tells you what she thinks. If something needs to be addressed, she doesn't wait until the end of the inning. She addresses it right away. She is very aggressive and has a very confident voice. She has taught me to never be passive - always go for it." - Ka'ili Smith, MSU First Baseman
"Coach Steudeman is so enthusiastic. She brings back that fire you had when you were a kid playing the game. She is teaching us mental aspects of the game that we never knew existed. She is able to talk to each pitcher in a way that it sticks, and that we just get it." - Shana Sherrod, MSU Pitcher
"Vann has been the most positive change. Like I said, I love to win and these coaches bring that. They don't want to fail and they are going to make sure we succeed. Coach Vann hates to lose. She has given me my confidence back. I know I can go out in the circle and win now. She has helped me so much with my mental game." - Kylie Vry, MSU Pitcher
"The one thing about Vann is she wants to be the best. I will do anything to win. That's the attitude she has as well. She pushes us and cares about us. She challenges me personally and pushes me. I am so excited. The morale of our team is so much better. We are all working hard for a common goal, Oklahoma City." - Brittany Bell, MSU Outfielder