Career Honors & Awards
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 20 school records in her first six seasons. Individually, Miller has produced 23 all-conference hitters, nine all-region performers and four All-Americans in just six seasons.
Entering her seventh season at Nebraska in 2015, Miller's offenses have posted some of the best totals in school history. Nebraska has set school records in home runs (73 in 2014), RBIs (325 in 2014), extra-base hits (173 in 2014), total bases (827 in 2014), slugging percentage (.495 in 2014), on-base percentage (.391 in 2011) and walks (215 in 2013) in the past four seasons alone. Over the past four seasons, Nebraska has posted three of the top five marks in school history in batting average, doubles, home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and walks. NU has also scored 300 runs in each of the last two seasons, producing the second- and fourth-highest run totals in school history. NU has scored at least 10 runs 52 times in six seasons with Miller leading the offense, and the Huskers have scored at least 15 runs five times in the last six years.
The Huskers' power numbers have risen dramatically under Miller's guidance, as Nebraska has averaged 50 home runs per season over her first six years, after averaging 25 home runs per season in the six years prior to her arrival. Miller's offenses have produced three of the five 50-homer seasons in school history. Nebraska has also produced at least 55 doubles in each of Miller's six seasons, including 90 in 2014, the second-highest total in school history. NU set a school record with 325 RBIs in 2014, marking only the second 300-RBI season in school history. Over the past four seasons, Nebraska has produced four of the top six RBI seasons in program history.
In her first six seasons, Nebraska has averaged 5.1 runs per game, compared to an average of only 4.0 runs per game in the six seasons before she arrived. Nebraska has scored at least 290 runs in four straight seasons. The Huskers own a .288 batting average, .438 slugging percentage and .381 on-base percentage in Miller's six seasons, compared to a .267 average, .361 slugging percentage and .343 on-base percentage in the six seasons before she arrived.
In addition to being the hitting coach, Miller also tutors the Husker catchers. She has made an impact in that area as well, as she has coached three different catchers to a total of five all-conference honors in her first six seasons. Taylor Edwards became the first Nebraska catcher to earn All-America accolades when she was a third-team selection as a freshman in 2011. Edwards became a two-time All-American when she was named a first-team All-American in 2014. 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 stand. 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, a record that still stands.
The underclassmen 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, slugging 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 school 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, NU walked a then-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).
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 continued its assault 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).
The Huskers topped nearly all of those marks in 2014. In arguably the greatest offensive season in school history, Nebraska set records for home runs (73), extra-base hits (173), RBIs (325), slugging percentage (.495) and total bases (827), while ranking second in runs (352), doubles (90) and hit-by-pitches (49), third inon-base percentage (.388), fourth in batting average (.298) and hits (498) and fifth in walks (199).
With three of the top four 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 player 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 - who combined for four All-America honors in their careers - 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. Thomason set records for the most RBIs by a Husker junior and senior, while Taylor Edwards broke Thomason's junior RBI record in 2013.
In 2014, Taylor Edwards slugged 18 home runs to become Nebraska's all-time leader with 54 career home runs. Tatum Edwards and Hailey Decker each added 14 home runs, as the Huskers had three players produce double-digit home run totals for the first time in school history.
The Huskers have also shown great discipline at the plate under Miller, posting six of the top eight 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 fifth-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 sixth 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 then-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. NU worked 199 walks in 2014 - the fifth-highest total in school history - and finished with the third-best on-base percentage (.388).
Individually, Miller has guided 16 Huskers to a total of 23 all-conference honors in only six seasons. 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. In 2014, the Edwards twins repeated as first-team selections, while Armstrong was a second-team pick for the second year in a row. Hailey Decker was also a first-team selection and freshman MJ Knighten earned a spot on the second team.
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.
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.
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. After 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.