MIKE WHITE FILE
After leading Oregon to many of its biggest wins in recent memory, fourth-year head coach Mike White has unquestionably re-established the Ducks as one of the nation’s top softball programs.
The greatest proof came when it mattered the most in 2012, as UO made its second-ever Women's College World Series (and first since 1989) to cap arguably its greatest season ever.
Oregon racked up its second-most wins ever (45), and ended the season ranked a best-ever fifth nationally in both the NFCA and USA Softball polls. The Ducks ranked top 25 all season long after being tabbed No. 14 in both preseason editions (and part of a streak of 42 straight weeks since 2010).
Against the nation’s top softball conference, UO placed third and posted back-to-back top-three Pac-12 finishes for the first time since the Pac-12 expanded to eight teams in 1994. Oregon also beat every league rival in the same season for the third time in that stretch.
In the postseason, UO opened regional play with a 3-0 mark for the third straight year (and successfully hosted its first ever postseason tilts in Eugene). A week later, the Ducks logged their first-ever NCAA Super Regional victories en route to a 2-1 mark and upset at #6 seed Texas.
More ESPN-TV national audiences saw what Duck fans already knew again the next week in Oklahoma City.
Oregon beat #5 seed Tennessee in the WCWS, while its other hard-fought losses came to #1 and #3 seeds California and Arizona State. Afterwards, two Ducks - Samantha Pappas and Alexa Peterson - were honored to the All-WCWS Team for their impressive stats.Overall, UO racked up 25 wins against NCAA tourney advancers, and 16 victories vs. top-25 teams in 2012, including a 1-0 win mid-April vs. then-No. 1 California (its second upset of a top-ranked foe in White’s tenure).
Not surprisingly, his .691 winning percentage (123-55) his first three years is the best all-time among Oregon head coaches (while #2 is .571). In the postseason, the Ducks are 12-7 between 2010-12, compared to a 25-21 ledger in its 11 combined prior postseason trips since 1989.
Individual honors flowed in record fashion in return for the Ducks' team success in '12.
Similarly, conference coaches bestowed laurels on eight Ducks to the all-league first (Moore, Pappas), second (Kelsey Chambers, Howard), and honorable mention teams (Ceo, Cuico, Christie Nieto, Peterson), while Janie Takeda was voted to the All-Pac-12 Freshman Team.
Oregon was also easy to spot on national stat charts with six top-30 team rankings in scoring (13th, 5.76 per game), slugging (13th, .487), doubles (16th, 1.43 p/g), homers (21st, 1.05 p/g), batting (22nd, .308) and win-loss percentage (26th, .714).
Duck individuals frequented the NCAA season rolls, and those ranked top 100 included Moore (wins, sixth, 33; strikeouts, 26th, 256; saves, 96th, 2), Nieto (on-base percentage, 24th, .516), Pappas (doubles, 56th, 0.27 p/g; slugging, 61st, .697; batting, .393; stolen bases, 81st, 0.35 p/g), Cuico (RBI, 54th, 0.89 p/g), and Howard (doubles, 56th, 0.27 p/g; RBI - 77th, 0.84 p/g).
In the UO record books, the Ducks bashed their way to new all-time team bests in slugging (.487), RBI (335), runs (363), and also stood second-best in batting (.308) and total bases (824), and third-best in hits (520), doubles (90), homers (66) and walks (207).
Moore added another chapter to Oregon's greatest pitching resume with a new season school record for strikeouts (256) and its second-best marks for wins (33), starts (47), complete games (33), innings (303.2) and appearances (52). Career-wise she enters her senior season in 2013 as the school record holder for strikeouts (718) and wins (73), and top five in appearances (fourth, 134) and shutouts (fifth, 15).
At the plate in 2012, Howard also tied the school season extra-base hits record (31), and ranked top seven in doubles (second-tie, 17), RBI (fourth, 52), total bases (fourth, 120) and homers (seventh-tie, 12).
Other Ducks with top-10 all-time school season marks included Cuico (RBI, third, 54; homers, seventh, 12; walks, seventh, 31), Kelsey Chambers (runs, third, 51; RBI, fifth-tie, 48), Pappas (doubles, second-tie, 17; extra-base hits, third-tie, 30; total bases, third, 124; slugging, fifth, .697; batting, seventh, .396; hits, seventh, 70; stolen bases, ninth-tie, 22) and Nieto (walks, ninth-tie, 30; slugging, 10th, .638).
In the summer of '12, the former ISC Hall of Fame pitcher was smartly tapped to lend his international expertise to the U.S. National Team coaching staff as an assistant coach. Team USA went 9-1 in the ISC Women's World Championship against the world's best, en route to a silver medal before narrowly losing to Japan, 2-1, in the 10-inning finale.
The last month of the regular season, UO won nine of its last 12 league tilts and claimed its last four Pac-10 series. The Ducks took three-game sets from then-No. 12 UCLA and then-No. 10 Stanford for the first time since 2005 and 2007 and ended 15- and 10-game losing streaks; claimed its first Civil War sweep of Oregon State since 1994; and took a series from eight-time national champion Arizona for only the third time in the rivalry dating back to 1984.
Stat-wise, his squad left an equal impressive legacy on the school record books in '11. The pitching staff combined on 446 strikeouts in 378 innings, and that 1.17 average per inning was just off its school record from 2010 (470, 381.2 innings (1.23 K/Inning). At the plate, UO's home run tally (71) was an overall and per-game record (1.22), and so was its runs (5.14 p/g) and slugging (.484) marks. Other top-five team season marks came in the following categories: total bases (third, 12.26 p/g), batting (fourth, .291) and RBI (fifth, 4.50 p/g).
On the Oregon individual season charts, Moore (24-11) became the third Duck pitcher to be tabbed to the All-Pac-10 First Team. The Sutter, Calif., native logged the second-best all-time strikeout mark for UO (224) and third-best win total. She also tied the fifth-best 'K' total (12) in a game the opening weekend in wins over No. 16 BYU and No. 19 Texas A&M. All-Pac-10 Second Team choice Monique Fuiava added top-10 marks in doubles (fourth, 14), slugging (seventh, .643), extra-base hits (ninth, 23) and RBI (ninth, 44).
Other year-end honors included All-Region First-Team nods for Moore and Fuiava, Second-Team laurels to freshmen Courtney Ceo and Alexa Peterson, and the latter duo were also All-Pac-10 Freshman Team choices. During the season, Moroe and Brittany Rumfelt were Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week selections and Peterson received a Player of the Week award.
In 2010, an ESPN-TV national audience got a first-hand taste of the upstart Ducks who claimed their first-ever Super Regional bid to cap an amazing campaign. The Ducks shocked the NCAA Tournament's eighth seed, Georgia Tech, with 11-2 and 4-3 eight-inning regional wins on the Yellow Jackets' own turf to advance to Columbia, Mo., to play seventh-seeded Missouri.
In months prior, Oregon scored eight wins in the ‘Conference of Champions’ — its then-most since White's previous Duck stint as an assistant coach in 2003 and ’04 (10). UO also beat five different Pac-10 teams – No. 1 Washington, No. 3 Arizona, No. 9 Arizona State, No. 13 California (3 times), OSU (2) – for the first time since topping all seven rivals in ‘04.
Among those wins, Oregon’s 4-0 win over Washington was its first win over a top-ranked team since it beat Arizona at home in 2004, and its two ninth-inning comebacks (7-6, 8-6) and its 1-0 shutout of California marked its first season series sweep of the Bears dating back to 1979. The Ducks also ranked top 20 for most of the season and climbed as high as 16th nationally.
Glancing at the year-end NCAA rankings, the Ducks stood 33rd nationally among teams in batting (.299), 34th in slugging (.460) and 47th in home runs per game (0.89). In the Pac-10, Oregon pitchers paced the Pac-10 in saves (6) and ranked second in strikeouts per inning (1.34) with a new school record (470) that easily topped the former mark set by his former staff in 2004 (394, 432.2 innings). At the plate, UO hitters also posted their second-best ever season totals in batting (.299) and slugging (.460).
On the individual front, freshman pitcher Jessica Moore reset the school season strikeouts mark (238), while freshman right fielder Samantha Pappas also racked up top-10 school season marks in RBI (third, 48), total bases (seventh, 107), slugging (seventh, .641) and home runs (eighth, 11), and freshman left fielder Allie Burger achieved similar honors in triples (sixth, 4).
At season’s end, Pappas was rewarded as the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and an All-Pac-10 and All-Pacific Region First-Team honoree. Moore was an All-Pac-10 and All-Region Second-Team pick, and Burger was a fellow honoree on the latter squad, while all three were tabbed to the All-Pac-10 Freshman Team. At various points during the campaign, the trio were all honored as Pac-10 Players or Pitchers of the Week, as was junior infielder Monique Fuiava.
Before his current Duck tenure, White was already well-known in softball circles as an International Softball Congress (ISC) Hall of Fame pitcher and 30-year coaching veteran. Duck fans will also fondly remember his two-season stint as an assistant coach in 2003-04 when his Duck pitchers and catchers helped Oregon advance to the NCAA regional final both campaigns.
In that prior Duck stint, the Ducks lowered their ERA from 3.01 the season prior to his arrival to 2.12 and 1.68, respectively, while its strikeout totals of 347 and 394 – the best two in school history – far outdistanced its 223 total from 2002.
Several pupils shined immediately under his tutelage as freshman Amy Harris set a single-season strikeout record (180) his first season, while senior Andrea Vidlund led the nation in saves and set a Pac-10 record (11). The next year, newcomer Ani Nyhus was an All-Pac-10 First Team and NCAA Regional All-Tournament choice and two-time conference pitcher of the week. The junior college transfer notched 20 wins (25-12), rewrote the program’s single-season strikeout record (202) and pitched a no-hitter vs. Utah State. Catcher Jenn Poore was also an All-American and All-Pac-10 Second Team honoree in ’04 and drafted into the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league.
Since then, he continued to live in Eugene with his family and has remained active as an assistant coach for one of the nation’s top programs at Marist High School during the 2008-09 seasons. The program ended 2009 ranked 22nd nationally by USA Today and won consecutive 4A state titles after identical 29-1 seasons. He has also coached the Northwest Thunder and Northwest Bullets Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) youth club teams and served as a private instructor for various elite players of all levels.
As a player, White starred as a top pitcher on U.S. National Teams before he retired in 2007. A New Zealand native, he became a U.S. citizen in 1994 and helped guide the USA to a bronze medal in the 2000 World Championships when he went 2-0 with a 0.89 ERA and 19 strikeouts. In 1999, the U.S. won the silver medal at the Pan Am Games, and he was 3-2 with a 0.68 ERA and 35 strikeouts. He also played on three silver medal Pan-American Games teams in 1995, 1999 and 2003.
He enjoyed another successful stint with the American team in 2004 and played in his sixth quadrennial International Softball World Tournament. Altogether, he has helped teams claim two gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze in his four trips with New Zealand and two with the United States. Among other honors, the multiple Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) MVP pitcher and All-American helped lead teams to five ASA national titles and five ISC World Club Championships, and was the 2002 ASA Player of the Year.
The Wellington, New Zealand native (11/19/61) earned his bachelor of arts degree in marketing and management from Mount Mercy College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) in 1989. He is married to the former Lisa Revers, and the couple have three daughters; Nyree (11/2/92), Kenzie (8/30/95) and Sidney (4/14/97).
Duck Coaching Record
Overall Pac-12 Regional Super Regional WCWS