Special to The Sun
Central Oklahoma head softball coach Genny Stidham, who guided the Bronchos to their first-ever national championship in May, announced today she is leaving the school to take over the program at Texas Woman’s.
“Coach Stidham has done a remarkable job with the Broncho softball program,” said athletic director Joe Muller. “Her recent success in advancing to the World Series is evidence of her abilities as a coach. We wish her the best of luck as she begins a new chapter in her career.
“We will also continue to recruit exceptional student-athletes as we build for future success. We’re committed to the young women in this program and look forward to the upcoming season as we defend our national championship.”
Stidham led UCO to unprecedented heights during her stellar 16-year career, finishing as the school’s winningest coach with a 475-289-2 record. She had the six best seasons in school history and took the Bronchos to three NCAA Division II Championship Finals appearances (2006, ’12 and ’13), winning the title this season to cap a 51-11 campaign.
“This was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” said Stidham, who goes to a TWU program that finished 51-14 in 2013 in advancing to Championship Finals for the first time. “UCO is my alma mater and having the success we did here was something I’ll cherish forever, especially the national championship team that will always be so special to me.
“I benefitted from a lot of outstanding players and got support from many different people within the university that I will always appreciate.
“This was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up. It’s the best move for me and my family, but UCO is and always will be a great university.”
A standout high school player in Texas before finishing her prep career at Edmond Memorial High School, Stidham started her college career at Kansas before coming to Central Oklahoma in 1990. She was a two-year star for the Bronchos as a pitcher-shortstop, going 25-10 with a 0.97 earned run average in that span and earning All-America honors as a senior.
Genny, who was inducted into the UCO Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009, started her coaching career as an assistant coach at Oklahoma in 1994-95 before returning to UCO and serving as Gerry Pinkston’s graduate assistant in 1996 and ’97.
She took over the program the following year after Pinkston retired and had 13 winning seasons in her 16 years at the helm, including the final 10 in a row. Stidham took the Bronchos to their first NCAA Division II national tournament in 2002 and led UCO back to the national playoffs in 2005, ’06, ’08, ’10, ’12 and ’13.
Stidham guided the Bronchos to regional titles in 2006, ’12 and ‘13 to advance to the Championship Finals. Central Oklahoma tied for third in 2012 before this year’s squad put it all together, winning the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association crown in its first year in the league and then going a perfect 9-0 in the national tournament to capture the school’s first women’s national championship.
Stidham and assistant coach Cody White were named the NCAA Division II Coaching Staff of the Year for their efforts.
Genny and her husband, Jerod, have two children (Allie and Connor).