Helping guide three different programs to the Super Regional the past four years and five trips in a six-year stretch, Jessica Allister continues to command respect as one of the nation's top softball coaches.
The second-year Duck assistant coach and former All-America catcher helped Oregon polish one of its best-ever seasons in 2010. UO staked its first-ever Super Regional trip after topping NCAA tourney seventh seed Georgia Tech twice on their turf in front of an ESPN national TV audience, beat five different teams in the 'Conference of Champions', and staked its most league wins (8) since 2003 and '04 (10).
The three seasons prior, she served as an assistant coach for her alma mater, Stanford University, after a two-season stint as an assistant coach at the University of Georgia.
With the Cardinal program, she was an integral part of the 2009 NFCA West Regional Coaching Staff of the Year thanks to her work with the catchers, and she also served as a first base coach and assisted with hitting and recruiting. With the Bulldogs, another consistently top-10 ranked program, her skills were tapped as the hitting instructor for several record-breaking offenses, and she also assisted in recruiting.
In her Palo Alto coaching stint, the Cardinal enjoyed three straight NCAA Tournament bids, including Super Regional appearances in 2008 and ‘09, and extended its postseason run to 12 straight years. Stanford tied its second-most wins ever in ’08 (49), while it claimed 48 and 35 wins in ’09 and ’07, respectively, and was ranked top 10 nationally every season, including as high as second this past campaign. Georgia also enjoyed two of its most successful seasons ever and claimed 54 and 55 wins in 2006 and ’05, respectively, won an SEC title and back-to-back SEC East Division crowns, and also advanced to the Super Regional and Regional final.
Among her Stanford pupils’ highlights, catcher Rosey Neill was picked by league coaches as the 2008 and '09 Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year. The All-Pac-10 and All-Region First Team pick was equally on par at the plate in '08 and matched a school record with 19 home runs - 10th-most nationally - to go along with team season highs in total bases (129) and slugging (.713). In her first season in ’07, she led the conference in pickoffs (3) and finished among the top three in runners caught stealing (16).
In Allister’s first season in Athens in ’05, her impact on the offense was immediately felt. Georgia hitters led the SEC and ranked sixth nationally in batting (.317) and fueled the team's run to SEC and NCAA Regional titles. Infielder Kim Wendland picked up All-America and SEC Player of the Year honors thanks to an amazing season at the plate (.392, 12 doubles, 85 hits, 15 home runs, 54 RBI, .664 slugging). Infielder Megan McAllister was a fellow All-SEC First Team pick and set a school record for home runs (16), and outfielder Courtney Knight (.372, 11 doubles, four triples, 40 RBI) and pitcher/infielder Jessica Doucette (.318, 69 hits, 38 RBI) were All-SEC Second-Team choices. Katie Lewis (.312) - another of Georgia’s eight starters that hit over .300 - led the nation in sacrifice hits (34).
In ’06, the UGA offense continued to roll and ranked top seven nationally in runs (fifth, 6.0 avg.), hitting (seventh, .318) and slugging (seventh, .490). Newcomer and junior outfielder Kellie Middleton was tabbed an NFCA Second-Team All-American and All-SEC and All-Region First-Team pick after she hit a team-high .409, and added 22 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 40 RBI and 39 stolen bases. Megan McAllister picked up her first NFCA All-America nod as part of the second team after another outstanding season at the plate (.350, 16 doubles, 16 home runs, 64 RBI). Other top offensive threats included infielder Chelsea Cantillo (.354, 32 RBI), outfielder Courtney Knight (.345, 46 RBI) and pitcher/infielder Jessica Doucette (.318, 14 doubles, 11 home runs, 53 RBI). The latter completed the program’s first ever trio of same-season NFCA All-Americans when she landed on the third team.
Her tenure in the Georgia team record books is also well-documented with school bests in home runs (60, '06), doubles (101, '06), walks (181, '05; 187, '06) and sacrifice hits (98, '05). Upon her departure, those two squads also sported top-three all-time marks in batting average (.318, second, '06; .317, third, '05), home runs (53, second, '05), total bases (second, 659, '05), slugging (.490, second, '06; .463, third, '05), on-base percentage (.395, second, '06; .384, third, '05) and sacrifice hits (90, third, '06).
As a player, Allister logged one of Stanford's greatest careers, and helped lead the team a pair of program's Women's College World Series trips among its to four postseason appearances. An All-American, three-time All-Pac-10 honoree and four-year starter, she played more games (266) than any other Cardinal player.
As a senior in 2004, she was rewarded with All-America Second Team honors after she led the team to its second WCWS appearance and hit a team-leading 12 home runs, 55 RBI, .631 slugging percentage and .404 on-base percentage. She led the conference in fielding percentage as both a junior and senior, and finished her career with the best fielding percentage in school history (.994).
As a freshman in 2001, she earned her first all-region honor and helped the Cardinal to a program record 54 wins and its first WCWS appearance. She concluded her career at Stanford second on the school charts in career home runs (32) and third in RBI (162), and remains among the program's top-10 in career slugging percentage (.473), doubles (47), hits (217), putouts (1103) and batting average (.283).
After college, she played professionally as a member of the New England Riptide of the National Pro Fastpitch League in 2004 and 2005.
She graduated from Stanford in 2004 with a degree in economics. The Nacogdoches, Texas native was a two-time prep All-American and 2000 Texas All-State selection at Nacogdoches High School.