Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk has a coaching search on his hands, as he announced earlier this week that interim softball coach Gina Fogue would not be retained for the full-time position. Here are five potential candidates to keep an eye on:
Pete D’Amour, Kennesaw State: A longtime assistant under former Missouri coach Ehren Earleywine, D’Amour was the Tigers pitching coach for years and played a crucial role in the development of program legends like Chelsea Thomas. D’Amour became Kennesaw State coach in 2016 and led the Owls to an NCAA Tournament in just his second season. He brings extensive knowledge of the program, but ties to Earleywine could be an issue if Sterk wants to take the Tigers in a new direction.
Lynn Curylo, Illinois-Chicago: A Flames legend, Curylo has led the program to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in her two years running the program. A staple in the Horizon League, Curylo’s squad knocked out Missouri in the NCAA Tournament in 2017. An up-and-coming coach, Curylo has recruiting ties to California, Illinois and Missouri. The Tigers are a step up from the Horizon League in the tough Southeastern Conference, but would Curylo want to leave her alma mater?
Kristi Bredbenner, Wichita State: Bredbenner recently took shots at Missouri, accusing the program of canceling a doubleheader with her program in order to preserve their NCAA Tournament hopes. That would go out the door if she got a call for the job. A Missouri native, Bredbenner had a standout career at Truman State and has led the Shockers to multiple Missouri Valley Conference titles and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. She has ties to the state and has been a coach for seven years in a solid conference.
Becky Clark, South Alabama: After helping start the program in 2007, Clark has turned the Cougars into a mid-major powerhouse. The program made four straight regional finals from 2012-15 and has 40 or more wins in four of the last seven seasons. Clark has shown she can build a program, maybe she’s ready for an established one.
Sandy Pearsall, Louisville: A veteran coach who has been with the Cardinals for nearly 20 years, since the program’s inception. She’s led the Cardinals to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, while Louisville has transitioned from the old Big East conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference. It could be tough to lure Pearsall away from a program she’s essentially built, but with the turmoil in the athletic department over the FBI scandal and a new athletic director, now could be the time to lure her away. The ACC is a strong conference but the SEC would give her a better chance to make the Women’s College World Series.