Career Honors & Awards
- NFCA Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year (2013)
- Missouri Southern State Individual Hall of Fame (2003)
- Missouri Southern State Championship Team Hall of Fame (2002)
- Three-Time Division II Second-Team All-American (1990, 1991 & 1992)
- Second-Team CoSIDA Academic All-American (1992)
After orchestrating an offensive revival at Colorado State, Diane Miller is producing an encore performance in Lincoln, leading the Huskers to outstanding offensive totals and more than a dozen school records in her first five seasons. Individually, Miller has produced 18 all-conference hitters in her five seasons, six all-region performers and one All-American.
Entering her sixth season in 2014, Miller's offenses have posted some of the best totals in school history. Nebraska has set school records in slugging percentage (.467 in 2011), on-base percentage (.391 in 2011) and walks (215 in 2013) in the past three seasons alone. Over the past three seasons, Nebraska has posted three of the top five marks in school history in batting average, RBIs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage and two of the five highest totals in runs scored, doubles, home runs, walks, hit-by-pitches and extra-base hits. NU has scored at least 10 runs 41 times in five seasons with Miller leading the offense, and the Huskers have scored at least 15 runs four times in the last five years.
The Huskers' power numbers have risen dramatically under Miller's guidance, as Nebraska has averaged 45 home runs per season over her first five years, after averaging 22 home runs per season in the five years prior to her arrival. NU has homered at least 30 times in each of Miller's five seasons, marking the longest streak of consecutive 30-homer seasons in school history. Miller's offenses have also produced at least 55 doubles in each of her five seasons, marking the longest streak of consecutive seasons with at least 55 doubles in school history. With more than 200 RBIs in each of Miller's five seasons, Nebraska has also tied the longest streak of consecutive 200-RBI seasons in Husker history.
In her first five seasons, Nebraska has averaged 4.9 runs per game, compared to an average of only 3.9 runs per game in the five seasons before she arrived. Nebraska has scored at least 240 runs in every season under Miller's direction. The Huskers own a .285 batting average, .426 slugging percentage and .388 on-base percentage in Miller's five seasons, compared to a .263 average, .350 slugging percentage and .340 on-base percentage in the five seasons before she arrived.
In addition to being the hitting coach, Miller also tutors the Husker catchers. She has made an enormous impact in that area as well, as she has coached three different catchers to a total of four all-conference honors in her first five seasons, while Taylor Edwards became the first Nebraska catcher to earn All-America accolades in 2011. No Husker catcher had earned all-conference accolades in the eight seasons prior to Miller's arrival.
The Huskers showed tremendous offensive improvement under Miller in 2009. Her instruction had an immediate impact, as the Huskers scored at least 10 runs in each of their first three games in 2009, matching a feat that had been accomplished only one other time in the storied history of Husker softball. Nebraska went on to set a school record for sacrifice flies (15), hit batters (48), walks per game (3.4) and number of players hitting a home run (10) in Miller's first season, and the sacrifice fly and individual home run records still stands. Nebraska also posted the third-best on-base percentage (.382) in program history in 2009, while averaging the fifth-most runs per game (5.64) and finishing with the sixth-best batting average (.277).
The 2009 offense was led by six seniors who combined to earn seven career All-Big 12 awards. Miller faced a challenge in 2010 replacing that lost production. Nebraska lost seven of its top eight batting averages from the 2009 season and had only one returning hitter who batted better than .220. The 2010 Husker lineup regularly featured four freshmen and sophomores and as many as seven. Overall, the 2010 starting lineup featured six players with one season or less experience facing Division I pitchers.
Despite its inexperience, the 2010 Husker offense topped its 2009 totals in several categories in the second year of Miller's system. Nebraska's batting average dipped slightly to .269, but the Huskers' power numbers took a big leap. The Huskers finished with 41 homers and 73 doubles in 2010, while posting a .401 slugging percentage. The 2010 Nebraska offense ranked fourth in school history in doubles and sixth in home runs, slugging percentage and extra-base hits. The group also broke the school hit-by-pitch record set the previous season, getting plunked 60 times. The hit-by-pitch record still stands.
The underclassmen, who entered the season with uncertainty about their ability to produce, finished with a collective .277 average, 47 doubles, 19 home runs and 124 RBIs. After being led by seniors in 2009, Nebraska's top five hitters included one freshman, two sophomores and two juniors in 2010. Those five hitters combined to bat .328 with 53 doubles, 34 home runs, 157 RBIs and 159 runs scored.
In 2011, Nebraska produced one of the finest offensive seasons in school history. The Huskers set school records with a .467 slugging percentage and .391 on-base percentage, marks that still stand atop the Nebraska record book. NU also batted .301 as a team, the third-best mark in school history and the first .300 team average at Nebraska in 15 seasons. The Huskers added plenty of power at the plate, hitting 58 home runs in only 55 games. The 58 homers ranked second in school history, while Nebraska averaged more than one home run per game for only the second time in Husker history. Nebraska also ranked third in school history in RBIs (270), fourth in runs scored (294), extra-base-hits (125) and hit-by-pitches (42) and fifth in doubles (66), total bases (681) and walks (179).
In 2012, Nebraska walked a school-record 204 times to post a .389 on-base percentage, the second-highest mark in school history, trailing only the mark from the year before. Nebraska also ranked third in program history with 270 RBIs, a .431 slugging percentage and 77 doubles, while ranking fourth in runs scored (295) and batting average (.294).
Nebraska has shown much-improved power in Miller's four seasons. The Huskers hit 31 home runs in 2009 after homering only 29 times the previous two seasons combined (14 in 2007 and 15 in 2008). NU then slugged 41 home runs in 2010 before homering 58 times in 2011, the second-highest total in school history. The Huskers added 37 homers in 2012.
The Huskers again left their mark in 2013, when the offense played a key role in the Huskers winning an NCAA Regional for the first time in 11 years, advancing to the first NCAA Super Regional appearance in school history and competing in the Women's College World Series for the seventh time in program history. Despite facing the toughest non-conference schedule in the country and the 10th-toughest overall schedule, Nebraska again left its mark on the offensive record books in 2013.
Nebraska set a school record with 215 walks in 2013, while ranking second in home runs (58) and extra-base hits (136), third in RBIs (290), doubles (77), runs (318), total bases (732), hit-by-pitches (45) and slugging percentage (.440) and fourth in hits (470) and on-base percentage (.380).
With two of the top three marks in school history, increased home run production has been a big story during Miller's tenure as Husker hitting coach. A school-record 10 players homered during the 2009 season, as no more than nine players had ever homered in one season prior to Miller's arrival. Julie Brechtel and Heidi Foland led the team with six home runs each after neither recorded a home run in their freshman seasons. Overall, seven of Nebraska's nine returning hitters (excluding slappers) recorded career-high home run totals in Miller's first year and either matched or exceeded their career totals entering the year, including three seniors. That was again the case in 2010, as eight Huskers homered on the season and each either matched or exceeded her career high. Foland produced 13 home runs, the highest total by a Husker in 10 seasons.
In 2011, freshman twins Tatum and Taylor Edwards combined for 32 home runs, the second-highest total by any two players in school history. Both players surpassed the previous Husker freshman home run record of 13, as Tatum hit 14 homers and Taylor slugged 18 home runs, the second-highest overall total in school history. The duo - both of whom have been All-Americans - combined for 25 home runs in 2013. Brooke Thomason added nine home runs in 2013, becoming the first player in school history to hit at least seven home runs all four seasons of her career. Thomason also became the first Husker ever to produce four 30-RBI seasons, finishing second on Nebraska's career chart with 177 RBIs. Thomason set records for the most RBIs by a Husker junior and senior, while Taylor Edwards broke Thomason's junior RBI record in 2013.
The Huskers have also shown great discipline at the plate under Miller, posting five of the top seven single-season on-base percentages in school history, including the top two. NU drew 181 walks in only 53 games in 2009 to average a then-school-record 3.4 walks per game. Nebraska had three players draw at least 25 walks in 2009, tying for the highest mark in school history. Combined with 48 hit batters, NU finished with a .376 on-base percentage in 2009, the fourth-highest mark in school history. In 2010, the Huskers drew 159 walks and added 60 hit-by-pitches to post a .358 on-base percentage that ranked fifth in school history. In 2011, Nebraska posted a school-record .391 on-base percentage, nine points better than the previous record. The Huskers nearly matched that mark in 2012, drawing a school-record 204 walks to post a .389 on-base percentage. In 2013, Nebraska drew a school-record 215 walks while reaching base at a .380 clip, the fourth-best mark in school history.
In only five seasons, Miller has guided 14 different hitters to a total of 18 all-conference honors. Three Husker seniors earned all-conference accolades in 2009 and three underclassmen, including one freshman, took home All-Big 12 honors in 2010. Brechtel, Ashley Guile and Thomason each earned NFCA All-Midwest Region accolades in 2010 after no Husker hitter had made the all-region team the previous three seasons. In 2011, the Edwards twins each earned All-Big 12 honors, while Taylor was a first-team all-region pick and a third-team All-American. Taylor was also one of 25 finalists for the USA Softball Player-of-the-Year award. In 2012, Gabby Banda, Courtney Breault, Tatum Edwards and Thomason each earned All-Big Ten accolades. Both Edwards twins were unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selections in 2013, while Breault repeated as a second-team selection. A pair of underclassmen - Alicia Armstrong and Jordan Bettiol - also garnered second-team All-Big Ten recognition in 2013.
Prior to coming to Lincoln, Miller spent the previous eight seasons as an assistant coach at Colorado State, where she served as the Rams’ hitting coach, recruiting coordinator and camps director, while also instructing the catchers. After a successful stint in Fort Collins where she established herself as one of the country’s premier hitting coaches, Miller has continued each of those duties in Lincoln.
"We feel very fortunate to have Diane on the Nebraska softball coaching staff," NU Head Coach Rhonda Revelle said. "Diane has a proven track record as a hitting coach. She has done a tremendous job and the numbers speak for themselves."
A native of Greeley, Kan., Miller helped Colorado State’s hitters re-write the CSU and Mountain West Conference record books. A total of 14 school records fell during Miller’s eight seasons. Each of the Rams’ top-five single-season marks for doubles, home runs and slugging percentage were established during Miller’s tenure. CSU also claimed four of the top five single-season records for batting average, runs scored, hits and RBIs under Miller.
On the conference level, Colorado State established a total of 44 MWC offensive records while Miller was at the school. Additionally, the Rams led the league in doubles three times, batting average and slugging percentage twice and hits and total bases once.
Nationally, CSU featured one of the nation’s most powerful offensive attacks in Miller's final three seasons. Colorado State was the only team in the country to rank in the top 20 nationally in home runs per game, doubles per game and slugging percentage each of the last three years. The Rams also ranked in the top 20 nationally in average three times in her last four seasons, including a pair of top-five finishes.
Over her last five years, Colorado State displayed power and a knack for scoring runs that was nearly unmatched in Division I. In the final 2008 NCAA statistical rankings, Miller’s last Colorado State team ranked fourth in Division I in home runs per game (1.33), sixth in doubles per game (1.69), seventh in slugging percentage (.522), ninth in scoring (5.92 runs per game) and 14th in batting average (.313).
The Rams ranked among the nation’s top home run-hitting clubs for the fourth time in five seasons in 2008. Miller had previously guided CSU to final home run rankings of fifth in 2007, 11th in 2006 and eighth in 2004, as the Rams slugged at least 53 home runs in each of those seasons. In Miller's last five years, Colorado State averaged more than 55 home runs per season. Prior to Miller’s arrival, no Colorado State team had ever hit more than 25 home runs in a season in 26 years of Ram softball.
Colorado State also ranked in the top 20 nationally for doubles in four of her last five seasons, while Miller’s hitters produced the Rams’ eight highest single-season doubles totals in school history, including a school-record 96 in 2004. Miller's last five teams averaged nearly 85 doubles per season, while prior to her arrival, no Colorado State team had ever recorded 70 doubles in a season.
The Rams averaged more than five runs per game over her final five seasons. The offense produced at least 220 runs in each of the past five years while producing four seasons with more than 265 runs, including 302 runs scored in only 51 games in 2008.
Lauren Cusick ended her stellar career by earning her fourth all-conference honor in 2008. As a senior, Cusick hit .393 with 15 doubles, 20 home runs, 42 RBIs, 61 runs scored and an .863 slugging percentage. Cusick is one of 12 Rams who broke a Mountain West Conference offensive record during Miller’s eight seasons in Fort Collins.
Cusick, a 2008 Easton second-team All-American, led the Mountain West in home runs, runs scored and slugging percentage in 2008, while ranking second in the nation in home runs per game, third in runs per game, fourth in total home runs and eighth in slugging.
In her time at Colorado State, Miller helped coach 20 all-conference selections, including two freshmen of the year and two players of the year. On a national and regional level, Miller helped instruct 12 All-West region selections, one NFCA second-team All-American and four Easton All-Americans, including two first-team selections.
Prior to entering the coaching profession, Miller was a three-time All-America catcher at Missouri Southern State College and led her team to an NCAA Division II national championship in 1992. In the fall of 2002, Miller was inducted into the Missouri Southern State College Hall of Fame along with every member of the championship team. In November of 2003, she was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame as an individual student-athlete.
Miller earned her undergraduate degree in education from Missouri Southern in 1992, and later received her master's of arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 1995. She received her first coaching job at UNO from Mary Yori, the older sister of Nebraska women’s basketball head coach Connie Yori. Prior to taking six years off from coaching while continuing to work in collegiate athletics, Miller rejoined Mary Yori as an assistant coach at Colorado State beginning with the 2000 season.