Career Honors and Awards
When Nebraska began its search for a head coach following the 1992 season, the program was in need of an enthusiastic, high-character individual who would return the Husker softball program to its perch among the sport’s elite. NU found that person in Rhonda Revelle, who returned to her alma mater in 1993 on a mission to build on Nebraska’s illustrious past and re-establish the Huskers as a national power.
Consider it mission accomplished.
The numbers speak for themselves: 843 victories; 19 All-Americans; 18 NCAA Tournament appearances; 13 Academic All-Americans; eight top-10 national finishes; eight coach-of-the-year accolades; seven conference titles; four Olympians; three 50-win seasons; and three Women’s College World Series berths.
Those numbers put Revelle into an elite group of collegiate coaches. The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) agreed in December of 2010, when Revelle was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame, an elite fraternity that includes fewer than 70 of the sport's all-time great coaches.
With Revelle's individual legacy even further enhanced, she is now determined to continue raising the bar for one of the nation’s elite programs.
The Huskers were voted the 12th-best program of all-time by the NFCA in 2003 and Nebraska was recognized as the 10th-winningest NCAA program ever by CBS College Sports in 2007. Under Revelle's guidance, Nebraska became the 10th program to win 1,000 NCAA games in 2009. In charge of a nationally recognized top-15 program, Revelle's Huskers finished eighth in 2013 while making the program's seventh all-time appearance in the Women's College World Series, a total that ranks 11th in NCAA history. NU recorded another top-10 finish in 2014, when the Huskers advanced to an NCAA Super Regional.
Entering her 23rd season in 2015, Revelle owns nearly every Nebraska coaching record. With a Nebraska career record of 843-441, Revelle is the winningest and longest-serving head coach in Husker softball history. She became Nebraska's all-time wins leader in any sport with her 768th win at Oklahoma State on March 3, 2013.
It took Revelle just three seasons to lead NU to the then-winningest softball season in school history and a first NCAA Tournament berth in seven years in 1995, but Revelle’s connection with Husker softball goes back much further.
Revelle has not only added to Nebraska’s legacy as one of the nation’s elite programs, she helped build that legacy as a player for the Big Red from 1981 to 1983. Originally from Eugene, Ore., Revelle’s first tour of Lincoln helped establish Nebraska as an elite program. She helped lead the Huskers to an appearance in the first-ever NCAA Women’s College World Series in 1982, and on the strength of that early success, the Huskers returned to the World Series two seasons later, finishing third in 1984 after Revelle had graduated.
After advancing to four of the first seven World Series ever contested, Nebraska fell on hard times in the early 1990s. Back-to-back losing seasons in 1991 and 1992 prompted a coaching change that brought Revelle back to Nebraska as the Huskers’ head coach. Barely a decade removed from helping Nebraska emerge into a dominant program as a player, Revelle spent the 1993 and 1994 seasons once again laying the foundation for the Huskers’ return to national prominence.
Nebraska’s re-emergence onto the national scene began to take shape in Revelle’s third season, when she was named the 1995 Big Eight Conference and NFCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year. The honor came after Revelle guided Nebraska to a then-school-record 43 victories and a final No. 18 ranking in the inaugural USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll.
Revelle posted another 40-win season in 1996 before the program really began to take off. In 1998, Nebraska’s return to national prominence was complete as the Huskers’ enjoyed their first championship season in a decade. That season, the Huskers won a school-record 80 percent of their games while returning to the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 1988. Revelle picked up Big 12 Conference Coach-of-the-Year honors after Nebraska swept through the league with a perfect 20-0 record en route to capturing the conference regular-season and tournament titles. To this day, the Huskers are the only team in Big 12 history to put together a perfect conference season.
The 1998 season was the beginning of one of the most successful decades in program history. From 1998 to 2007, Revelle led her team to the NCAA Tournament every season, and the Huskers were nationally ranked nine times in those 10 seasons, including seven seasons ranked in the top 15. During that decade, Nebraska won more than 70 percent of its games, averaging more than 43 wins per season while the NCAA selected the Huskers to host five NCAA Regionals. Revelle's teams also won six total Big 12 titles in that 10-year span and added five more runner-up finishes while totaling nine All-Americans and six academic All-Americans.
Following the record-breaking 1998 season, Nebraska nearly made a return to the WCWS before falling one win short the next season. The Huskers finished 35-21 in 1999 but caught fire in the postseason, finishing as the runner-up at the Big 12 Tournament before winning four games in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskers split the first two games with Arizona State before losing a 4-2 decision in the regional championship game with a trip to the Women's College World Series at stake.
Revelle then put together three consecutive 50-win seasons from 2000 to 2002, marking the only three 50-win seasons in school history. The streak started with a school-record 52 wins in 2000 and ended with a fifth-place finish at the 2002 Women's College World Series.
In 2000, Nebraska finished second in the regular-season Big 12 standings before winning the Big 12 Tournament. During the conference season, Nebraska twice defeated Oklahoma, a notable accomplishment since the Sooners went on to win the national championship while finishing with a 66-8 record. Nebraska made a regional final for the fourth straight year in 2000 but fell short of another World Series appearance.
The next season, Nebraska dominated the Big 12 Conference, finishing 16-2 to win the regular-season title. Revelle led the Huskers to a then-school record 18 straight victories, but Nebraska again came up short in the postseason while finishing with a No. 14 final ranking for the second straight season.
The Huskers would not come up short again in 2002. Revelle's team quickly established itself as a national title threat, as the Huskers posted a school-record 23-game winning streak while beginning the season with a remarkable 34-6 record. During the hot streak, Revelle's Huskers spent six consecutive weeks ranked fourth in the polls. Nebraska then swept through NCAA Regional play to advance to the Women's College World Series. The Huskers dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to Arizona in the opener before rebounding with a 1-0 win over Michigan. NU was then eliminated with a fifth-place finish following a 4-3 loss to Florida State.
The 2003 season once again saw Nebraska rise to new heights. The Huskers opened the season ranked in the preseason top five for the first time in school history. Revelle's team quickly ascended to the No. 3 spot in the poll, spending three consecutive weeks in the highest spot a Revelle-coached team has ever achieved. Nebraska was close to another trip to the Women's College World Series, but each of the Huskers' final 13 losses on the season were by two runs or less and Nebraska had to settle for a No. 13 final ranking and a loss in the NCAA Regional semifinals at Bowlin Stadium.
Revelle's Huskers would again be selected as an NCAA Regional host in 2004 and 2005. The 2004 Huskers swept the Big 12 Conference regular-season and tournament titles but received a tough draw when the NCAA Tournament pairings were released. Narrowly missing out on a national seed in the final season of eight-team regionals, Nebraska was unable to get by a tough California squad in the regional finals, as the Huskers ended their season with a 45-17 record and a No. 14 ranking, while the Bears went on to finish as the national runner-up.
Nebraska fell victim to a tough schedule in 2005, as Revelle's team finished 36-23 but the Huskers were still highly regarded enough to earn the No. 25 spot in the final poll. Nebraska was selected to host an NCAA Regional, but the Huskers were eliminated with a pair of one-run losses after winning their opener.
Revelle's Huskers rebounded with a stellar 2006 season in what may have been one of Revelle's finest coaching efforts. Nebraska did not feature an All-American in 2006, but that didn't stop the Huskers from finishing 44-12 and posting the program's third-best single-season winning percentage. Revelle's Huskers came together as a team to finish as the Big 12 regular-season runner-up while advancing to a ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and finishing the season ranked 14th in the final poll.
The 2007 Huskers featured one of the top pitching staffs in school history, as Nebraska finished ninth nationally in ERA. NU finished with a 37-20 record and was selected to host a fourth NCAA Regional at Bowlin Stadium in the span of five seasons.
After a disappointing finish in 2007, Revelle was faced with a challenging outlook the next season. The 2008 Huskers were the youngest group in school history with no seniors for the first time ever and 12 players with one season or less of collegiate experience. The youth, combined with a flurry of injuries led to a 25-28 finish that marked Nebraska's first losing season since 1994, Revelle's second season as Husker head coach.
Tabbed as a preseason dark horse to advance to the WCWS by ESPN.com, Nebraska began to pull together late in the season, as the Huskers nearly made a run to a Big 12 title. The Huskers advanced to the Big 12 Tournament title game by winning three straight games, including an upset of No. 7 Oklahoma. Needing a victory to earn an automatic berth to a 14th straight NCAA Tournament, Nebraska fell to eventual national runner-up Texas A&M.
Speaking of success in the conference tournament, the Huskers advanced to the Big 12 Championship game seven times in the tournament’s 15-year history while Nebraska was a member of the league. Overall, Revelle’s Husker squads recorded a regular-season or postseason championship or runner-up finish 13 times in their 16 years as a member of the Big 12.
The Huskers made it back to the postseason in 2009, finishing 35-19 and earning a trip to the Knoxville (Tenn.) Regional. Nebraska posted a 10-game improvement in the win column from 2008 to 2009 while finishing fifth in a tough Big 12 Conference that sent seven teams to the NCAA Tournament. Revelle picked up her 650th win at Nebraska in the Huskers' win in the first game of the NCAA Tournament, while four of her players earned All-Big 12 accolades, seven earned academic All-Big 12 honors and Molly Hill earned a repeat selection as a CoSIDA Academic All-American.
Nebraska added an academic All-American for the third straight season in 2010, when Robin Mackin was a second-team selection. The Huskers also had a program-record five players selected to the academic all-district first or second team, while producing three all-region selections on the field. As a team, Nebraska produced a 30-win season and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The Huskers were sent to the Seattle Regional hosted by defending national champion Washington. NU lost a pair of 1-0 heartbreakers to North Carolina in the postseason and picked up an elimination victory over North Dakota State. NU made the postseason with a roster that featured 11 first- or second-year players.
The Huskers had a breakthrough season under Revelle in 2011, when she challenged her team to put Nebraska softball back on the national map. Her team accomplished just that, posting the best start in school history, while being ranked among the nation's top-25 teams in every weekly poll during the season. Nebraska finished with a 41-14 record in 2011, winning 40 games and advancing to an NCAA Regional final for the first time in five seasons. Along the way, Nebraska rose to 11th in the polls - its highest ranking in eight seasons - while defeating No. 1 Florida in mid-March to give the program its first-ever victory over a No. 1 team.
The Huskers went on to finish with eight wins over ranked teams in 2011, including four wins over top-10 opponents. Nebraska also posted 15 wins against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament, including a 5-4 record against five teams that ended their season at the Women's College World Series. On an individual basis, Taylor Edwards earned third-team All-America honors in 2011. Edwards was the nation's only freshman position player named to an All-America team, while she also became the first Husker catcher to earn All-America accolades. Edwards was also one of 25 finalists - and the only freshman - for the USA Softball Player-of-the-Year award.
In the classroom, Ashley Hagemann and Nikki Haget each earned academic All-America honors. Hagemann was a second-team selection, while Haget garnered third-team honors. The two selections marked the fourth straight season the Huskers had produced an academic All-American, while increasing their nation-leading total to 29 all-time softball academic All-Americans. Revelle has produced 13 academic All-America selections at Nebraska, a total that ranks second nationally in Revelle's 21-year tenure. Revelle also orchestrates Nebraska's defensive efforts, and the Huskers posted the third-best fielding percentage (.970) in school history in 2011. In 2013, Nebraska set a school record by turning 49 double plays, the third-highest total in NCAA history. The Huskers also boasted a .967 fielding percentage in 2013.
In 2012, Revelle guided Nebraska to a third-place finish in its first year as a member of the Big Ten Conference. Although the Huskers' record wasn't enough to get them into the NCAA Tournament, Nebraska once again played one of the most challenging non-conference schedules in the country. Ten of the Huskers' 13 non-conference losses came against teams that made the NCAA Tournament, including four losses to teams that won an NCAA Regional. Nebraska picked up six wins over postseason teams in 2012, including a three-game sweep over NCAA Regional finalist Northwestern in the Huskers' first-ever Big Ten Conference series. NU was outstanding at home in 2012, posting a 15-1 record at Bowlin Stadium. Nebraska set records for the longest winning streak in Bowlin Stadium history (16) and for the best start since the stadium opened in 2002. Before losing on the last weekend of the season, Nebraska owned the nation's longest home winning streak.
In 2013, Revelle and her staff put together one of the finest coaching performances in school history. Leading a group that featured seven freshmen among its 16 players - and only one pitcher with collegiate experience - Revelle helped Nebraska go from unranked and receiving no votes in the preseason polls to a No. 8 final ranking, the first trip to an NCAA Super Regional in school history and the program's seventh all-time Women's College World Series appearance. Nebraska finished 45-16 in 2013, tying for the fifth-most victories in school history while finishing second in the Big Ten Conference.
Along the way, Nebraska defeated five top-10 teams in 2013, including a 1-0 win at No. 1 Oklahoma. The Huskers were one of only four teams to defeat the national champion Sooners, while the win was Nebraska's first-ever road victory over a No. 1 team and just the second win over a top-ranked team in school history. Following an outstanding regular season, Nebraska earned the No. 14 national seed for the NCAA Tournament. The Huskers were selected to host an NCAA Regional for the first time in six seasons, while earning a No. 1 seed for regional play for the first time in 11 seasons.
The Huskers swept through the NCAA Regional, breezing to a 3-0 record by outscoring their opponents 21-5. After capturing its first regional title since 2002, Nebraska advanced to the first NCAA Super Regional in school history. The Huskers opened the super regional with a 5-2 victory at No. 3 Oregon, snapping the nation's longest home winning streak less than a month after snapping No. 9 Michigan's nation-leading overall win streak. After an 11-inning loss to the Ducks in game two of the three-game super regional series, Nebraska punched its ticket to Oklahoma City with a 4-2 win over the Pac-12 champion in game three.
Nebraska fared well at the 2013 Women's College World Series despite an 0-2 record. Both of NU's losses were in extra innings, as the Huskers fell 4-3 to Washington in eight innings in the series opener, before dropping a memorable 9-8 15-inning decision to No. 2 Florida in an elimination matchup. All three of the Huskers' postseason losses were one-run setbacks in extra innings, proving a young Nebraska team could compete with any opponent.
Individually, Tatum Edwards earned second-team All-America honors in 2013, becoming the first Husker to garner first- or second-team All-America accolades since 2004. After limited pitching experience in her first two seasons, Edwards compiled a 30-10 record in 2013, while ranking in the top 15 nationally in wins and shutouts. Three Huskers were also all-region selections, while seven Huskers earned all-conference recognition.
In 2014, Tatum (third team) and Taylor (first team) Edwards both earned All-America accolades to end their careers as the seventh and eighth multiple All-Americans in school history. The lone seniors on the 2014 team, the twins helped the Huskers win an NCAA Regional title for the second straight year. NU posted a 44-18 record in 2014 against one of the nation's toughest schedules. Nebraska won 15 of its final 16 conference games to earn a share of the Big Ten regular-season title with an 18-5 record in league play.
With a conference and regional title to its credit, Nebraska was one of the nation's top teams in 2014. By finishing in a tie for ninth at the NCAA Tournament, the Huskers recorded their second straight top-10 national finish and their eighth in the past 18 seasons. With only two seniors and just four upperclassmen, Nebraska had the fewest upperclassmen of any team in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
Leading a young team to such success played a role in Revelle being named the 2014 Big Ten Coach of the Year. Riding the momentum of a conference title, Revelle's Huskers won four games in less than 23 hours to win the NCAA Columbia (Mo.) Regional, becoming only the second team in NCAA history to lose its regional opener and then come back through the loser's bracket and twice defeat a national seed on its home field to win a regional title. The Huskers then gave No. 2 Alabama all it could handle in the Super Regional, as Nebraska dropped a pair of one-run games to the national runner-up, including a 12-inning loss in game one.
In addition to success on the field and in the classroom, the Huskers have seen a dramatic increase in fan support under Revelle. NU has called Bowlin Stadium home since 2002, and the Huskers have finished in the top 10 nationally in average attendance in six of the 12 seasons since the stadium opened. The 2004 Huskers attracted a then-school-record 19,103 fans and led the nation with an average increase of 340 fans per game, while finishing third in total attendance and fourth in average attendance (955). That marked was topped in 2014, when Nebraska averaged 963 fans per game.
The program set a world record for the World's Largest Softball Tailgate when 1,752 fans came out to watch Nebraska beat Wisconsin in the final game of the 2012 season. The Huskers then broke that record in 2013 when 1,840 fans - the fourth-largest crowd in school history - came out to see No. 16 Nebraska battle No. 9 Michigan. The largest crowd in school history came out to set another World's Largest Softball Tailgate attendance record in 2014, when 2,204 fans came out to watch Nebraska play Ohio State.
Media exposure for the program has also seen a dramatic rise as Revelle has continued to build the program. In addition to national television appearances on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox Sports Net and the Big Ten Network, Nebraska will have a radio broadcast of every game for the sixth straight season in 2015.
Revelle has also emerged as a leader in the realm of women’s athletics at Nebraska, as she was NU’s Senior Woman Administrator for more than two years. Revelle also worked diligently to establish the first fully endowed scholarship for a female student-athlete at Nebraska, and the Husker softball program now boasts two fully endowed scholarships. She was also the 2007 recipient of the Dr. Barbara Hibner Trailblazer award.
Off the field, Revelle is an active member of the Lincoln community, as she was named the 2003 Downtown YMCA Co-Volunteer of the Year and has served as chairperson for several charitable campaigns, including the UNL United Way Combined Campaign, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night campaign, the Downtown YMCA Strong Kids campaign, the YMCA Cycle-a-Thon for Strong Kids campaign and the Lincoln Youth Council "Let ‘Em Play" campaign. Under Revelle, the 2005 United Way Combined Campaign raised its highest dollar amount to date.
A former Husker pitcher from 1981 to 1983, Revelle was a member of the 1982 team that made the school’s first-ever appearance in the WCWS and won its first conference title.
While at San Jose State, Revelle helped the Spartans to three consecutive top-20 finishes and two postseason appearances. She served as the pitching coach, recruiting coordinator and camps and clinics director.
Before taking the position at San Jose State, Revelle spent one year as an assistant coach at Cal State-Hayward and two seasons - including her only other stint as head coach - at Nebraska Wesleyan.
During the spring of 1997, Revelle and associate head coach Lori Sippel were honored for their efforts in coaching, playing and promoting softball in Nebraska by being inducted into the Nebraska Softball Hall of Fame.
A Conversation with Coach Revelle
Q: What is your coaching philosophy?
Q: You've restored NU to the upper echelon of collegiate softball. What have been the keys to your success?
Q: When you are recruiting a student-athlete, what are Nebraska's most impressive qualities?
We feel that Lincoln is a perfect college town, the University is a first-class institution and the athletic department, featuring the Hewit Center, Husker Power, HuskerVision, the Performance Buffet and many other services sell themselves. They are simply the best in college athletics.
Q: What do you look for in a Nebraska recruit?
Q: How important has Bowlin Stadium been to Nebraska softball?
Q: What makes Nebraska softball fans so special?