When ASU softball's coaching position opened in the summer of 2013, it was the best available job in the sport. A little more than two years later, it's safe to say ASU will still be one of the top available gigs.
The top jobs in college softball are usually never open because the best programs retain their coaches for a long time. Twenty schools in the Power Five alone have had a head coach in place for 10 years or more.
However, it might be more difficult to lure some potential candidates because they have been in their current position for so long. Would a coach that's been at his or her respective school for more than 10 years leave for just any offer?
Here are five coaches I think ASU should look at when considering success and length of time at school.
Jessica Allister, Minnesota
In five seasons, Allister (191-88, .685) has been incredible for the Gophers. Yes, she received an extension and raise in the offseason, but that’s what happens when you’re good. In the five years before Allister’s tenure, Minnesota won just 44 percent of its games, including 26 percent in the Big Ten. Last year she set the Minnesota record for single-season winning percentage (81.7). Before taking the role at Minnesota, Allister was an assistant coach at Oregon, Georgia and Stanford (her alma mater). But just imagine what she could do at a program where she can practice outdoors all year long and the ability to recruit in prime recruiting territory.
Shawn Rychcik, NC State
Rychcik may not be very well known, but his resume is as impressive as any. Rychcik (109-60-1, .644) has taken NC State to three consecutive regional finals including the first ever super regional appearance by a team from the state of North Carolina. In the three years prior to Rychcik's tenure, NC State won 49 percent of its games and didn't reach the postseason. Before joining NC State, Rychcik coached Boston University for eight seasons, taking the Terriers to the NCAA Tournament three times in his last four years there.
Rachel Lawson, Kentucky
Lawson’s a name that should be familiar to Sun Devil fans. In eight seasons with Kentucky, she (276-199, .581) took the Wildcats to four super regionals and one Women’s College World Series. With the recent shift in power from the Pac-12 to the SEC, I feel like she might have a ceiling in a conference with coaching greats such as Tim Walton (Florida), Clint Myers (Auburn), Patrick Murphy (Alabama) and Ralph Weekly (Tennessee).
John Rittman, formerly Stanford
Rittman has a little more baggage than other candidates, but I think time has only helped him. He coached Stanford from 1997 to 2014 (750-359-3, .676), but he resigned after the season following a meeting where players and parents aired various grievances about Rittman with athletic director Bernard Muir. Rittman could use ASU co-interim head coach Letty Olivarez as a reference (she was with Stanford from 2012-14). Since his time at Stanford, he was an associate coach at Kansas in 2015 and accepted then resigned from an assistant coaching position at Florida. He also has significant experience with USA Softball.
Mickey Dean, James Madison
I feel like Dean's instant success at James Madison should put him near the top of a lot of coaching searches. Dean (135-42, .763) has set James Madison's single-season wins record in each of his three seasons and he earned the program's first ever win in the NCAA Tournament in his first year. Before taking the position at James Madison, Dean was the Big South Coach of the Year at Radford in his final four seasons. Dean also has experience in NPF, the professional softball league where he was Chicago Bandits' head coach from 2004-10.