Head coach John Rittman enters his 17th season at the helm of the Stanford softball program in 2013. Since coming to The Farm in July 1996, Rittman has brought the Cardinal from a fledgling program to a fully-funded championship contender. Entering the 2013 season, Rittman's .685 winning percentage distinguishes him as one of the NCAA's most successful active Division I coaches.
Under Rittman, the Cardinal has recorded 16 consecutive winning seasons, made 15 straight NCAA appearances, notched 13 40-win seasons and produced at least one All-American in each of the last 15 years. Since coming to Stanford, Rittman has accumulated a 681-313-3 overall mark, coached a national player of the year, 16 All-Americans and maintained a spot in every regular-season NFCA poll for more than a decade.
Last season, the Cardinal finished 40-19 overall and nabbed a No. 20/21 final ranking. Under the guidance of Rittman, Stanford appeared in its 15th straight NCAA Tournament and had seven players represented on the All-Pac-12 teams. Junior Jenna Rich became the Cardinal's 16th All-American, and was joined on the NFCA All-West Region team by Teagan Gerhart, Leah White and Hanna Winter.
In 2011, Rittman led Stanford to a 42-17 overall record and a No. 10 final national ranking. The Cardinal mades its 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and advanced to its fifth super regional in the past seven years. Seven players earned All-Pac-10 honors and junior Ashley Hansen was tabbed the conference's Player of the Year. The All-American became the program's first USA Softball National Player of the Year as well. She was joined on the NFCA All-West Region First Team by Teagan Gerhart, Sarah Hassman and Jenna Rich.
In 2010, Rittman guided the Cardinal to a 37-19 overall record and a top-25 final national ranking. Stanford advanced to its 13th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and produced just the program's second four-time All-American in outfielder Alissa Haber. Six players earned All-Pac-10 honors and senior Rosey Neill became the first conference player to be named Defensive Player of the Year three times in her career. Haber, along with sophomore Ashley Hansen and freshman Teagan Gerhart, earned NFCA All-West Region honors.
In 2009, Rittman led the Cardinal to a 48-11 overall record, marking the best winning percentage in school history (.814). The team once again finished among the top-10 in the major collegiate softball polls. Additionally, the team matched its best Pac-10 record ever (13-8), placing fourth in arguably the most competitive conference in the country. Six players earned All-Pac-10 honors as catcher Rosey Neill repeated as the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and Ashley Hansen became the Cardinal's first Pac-10 Freshman of the Year since Jessica Mendoza was recognized a decade ago. Penna, Hansen and Alissa Haber were all named All-Americans, matching the most selections in school history. Penna and Haber were named to the first team, marking just the second time that the Cardinal had more than one player on the top team.
In 2008, Rittman led the Cardinal to yet another impressive campaign. Stanford posted the second-most wins in school history with a 49-15 record, marking the 10th time in Rittman's tenure that the program has achieved 40 or more wins. After taking fourth in the competitive Pac-10 Conference, the squad made its 11th-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and advanced to an NCAA Super Regional for the third time in four years. On Apr. 11, Rittman earned the 500th win of his career with a 10-1 run-rule victory over Oregon State. Seven players earned all-conference recognition, and pitcher Missy Penna and outfielder Alissa Haber were named All-Americans. Catcher Rosey Neill was tabbed the Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year, marking the third time in the four-year history of the award that it has gone to a Cardinal player. Led by Neill's school-record 19 homeruns, the 2008 Cardinal became just the second squad in school history to record 50 or more long balls in a single year.
In 2007, Rittman's squad posted a 35-21-1 overall record, earned an NCAA berth for the 10th-straight time and advanced to the regional championship. Under Rittman's guidance, Haber, then a freshman, emerged as one of the top offensive players in the Pac-10 and became the school's 12th All-American.
In 2006, Stanford chalked up a 42-18 record, marking the program's ninth consecutive 40-win season. The squad rallied late in the year, sweeping Washington and top-ranked UCLA in the final Pac-10 weekend, before capturing the NCAA Regional title in Fresno and advancing to the NCAA Super Regional in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Five players earned all-conference honors, shortstop Lauren Lappin was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season and outfielder Catalina Morris became Stanford's fourth three-time All-American.
Rittman coached the Cardinal to a share of its first-ever Pac-10 Championship in 2005. Stanford ended the season 43-16 overall and 13-8 in the conference, while boasting a No. 10 national ranking. The Cardinal rose as high as No. 3 in the polls midseason, swept through the NCAA Regional in Columbia, Mo. and hosted an NCAA Super Regional in the first year of their existence. Morris, Lappin and freshman Michelle Smith, who shattered the program's homerun record that season, were honored as All-Americans. Six players were named to all-conference teams.
In 2004, Rittman guided Stanford to its second appearance in the Women's College World Series and a 49-19 overall record. Stanford went 4-1 in the NCAA Regional at Smith Family Stadium, and tied for third nationally with a 2-2 record in Oklahoma City. The squad tied for second in the Pac-10 and ended the season ranked fourth nationally. Three players, Dana Sorensen, Jessica Allister and Lappin, earned All-America honors and Stanford matched a program record with five all-region selections. For his efforts, Rittman was tabbed Pac-10 Coach of the Year for the second time in his career.
In 2003, Rittman led the Cardinal to a 41-26 record and its sixth berth in an NCAA Regional. A program record eight players earned All-Pac-10 honors and Morris, then a freshman, earned her first All-America honor.
Rittman's 2002 squad finished 44-20 overall and earned a spot at the NCAA Regional in Fresno. Rittman guided the team to the highest ranking in program history, a No. 2 standing in the NFCA/USA Today Poll. On May 3 of that season, Rittman picked up his 250th career victory in Stanford's 9-1 win over Arizona State. Jessica Mendoza made history as the program's first four-time first-team All-American, Sarah Beeson earned her third career All-America honor and six players earned all-conference recognition.
The 2001 season was one of the most impressive campaigns during Rittman's tenure, as the Cardinal finished with its best winning percentage in school history (.768) and set a school record with 54 wins. After going 4-1 on its way to winning the NCAA Regional Championship on its home field, the Cardinal made its first appearance in the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City and finished tied for third nationally with a 2-2 mark. The Cardinal outscored its opponents 290-104 on the year, posted a school record 33 shutouts and finished with a 54-16-1 record. Rittman was named Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year, while three Stanford athletes were awarded first-team All-America status (Beeson, Mendoza and Sorensen), marking the first time Stanford had multiple first-team selections in the same year.
In 2000, the Cardinal went 45-18 overall and earned a third-straight berth in the NCAA Championship. Stanford spent every week of 2000 in the top-25, never falling below No. 12 during the regular season. Just a sophomore, Mendoza became the first Pac-10 Player of the Year in program history and was the first to be a back-to-back first-team All-Pac-10 selection. The center fielder set program records for batting average (.475) and hits (94) and, along with teammates Beeson and Sorenson, was named an All-American.
In 1999, the Cardinal went 40-25 overall, rose as high as No. 7 in the polls and earned a second-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. Rittman's team broke 34 individual and team school records, recording the first three perfect games in school history, notching the team's first win over Arizona and producing the program's initial first-team All-American, Mendoza.
In 1998, Rittman presided over Stanford softball's breakout year, leading the team to a place among the NCAA elite. The Cardinal posted its first 40-win season, with a 41-18 record, and broke into the national polls for the first time at No. 17 on Feb. 25. The Cardinal crept into the top-10 by the end of the regular season and earned the program's first berth in the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the regional championship game. Stanford finished third in the Pac-10 and was 12th in the final NFCA poll. Three Cardinal players, Michele Acosta, Becky Blevins and Marcy Crouch, were named All-Americans, the first players in school history to earn the honor. For his efforts, Rittman was named the 1998 NCAA Pacific Region Coach of the Year.
In 1997, Rittman stepped onto the Farm and immediately turned the Stanford program around. In his first year, Rittman led the Cardinal to its first-ever 30-win season and its first-ever winning season with a 31-27-1 record. Although Stanford fell just short of earning an NCAA berth, the Cardinal received postseason consideration following a solid performance down the stretch. Over the course of the 1997 season, Rittman's squad recorded nine wins over ranked opponents, including four over teams ranked in the top-10. Stanford defeated conference and national powerhouses UCLA and Washington for the first time in school history. Two of Rittman's players earned Pac-10 all-conference recognition, and two individuals were named to the All-Pacific Region Team.
United States National Team
Rittman brings a great deal of international coaching experience to The Farm as well, having served as a member of the United States National Team coaching staff from 2001-08.
In the summer of 2008, Rittman made his second coaching appearance in the Olympic Games, and was an integral part of the staff that led Team USA to a silver medal in Beijing, China. The squad won its first eight games of the tournament, most by considerable margins, and outscored opponents 58-5 over the nine games. Two of Rittman's former pupils, outfielder Jessica Mendoza and utility player Lauren Lappin, were part of the medal-winning team and carried two of the team's top three batting averages on the 40-city Bound 4 Beijing Tour leading up to the Games.
In 2007, Rittman coached the USA Team that won its second consecutive title at the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City, and its eighth title at the Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Lappin and Mendoza were both key players on that squad.
In 2006, he helped Team USA to its eighth consecutive World Championship in Bejing, a World Cup of Softball title and a gold medal at the Japan Cup in Yokohama.
Rittman also coached the USA Elite Team that won the 2005 Intercontinental Cup in Madrid, Spain. Former Stanford players Lappin and Catalina Morris were members of Rittman's USA Elite Team, as well as former Cardinal great Dana Sorensen. Also in 2005, Rittman helped the national team to a title at the International Sports Invitational in Chula Vista, Calif. and a silver medal at the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City.
In 2004, Rittman made his first appearance as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Team, guiding former Stanford player Mendoza and the rest of the team to a gold medal in Athens, Greece.
In 2003, the USA Team won gold medals at the Pan Am Games and the U.S. Cup. In addition, Rittman coached for the teams that won the 2002 U.S. Cup, the 2002 Canada Cup, the 2002 Japan Cup and the 2002 World Championship. In 2001, he coached the USA Red Team that won the gold medal at the U.S. Cup and competed in the Canada Cup and the USA Softball Shootout.
Other Coaching Experience
Prior to being named head coach at Stanford, Rittman spent four seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Washington. With the Huskies, he was responsible for teaching the fundamentals of hitting as well as defensive play. Rittman helped start the program and, within just four seasons, the Huskies had earned a No. 1 national ranking, won the 1996 Pac-10 Championship, made three NCAA Tournament appearances and notched a runner-up finish in their first trip to the Women's College World Series. Washington became the first team since Texas A&M (1983) to advance to the championship game in its first appearance at the WCWS.
Prior to his appointment at Washington, Rittman spent two seasons as an assistant at Minnesota. During his second year, the Golden Gophers won the Big Ten Conference with a 20-4 league record. The team batting average jumped from .235 to .269 and the Gophers set team and individual records in almost every offensive category. The Minnesota squad led the nation in hits and total bases en route to a No. 15 national ranking. Rittman also helped produce two Golden Gopher All-Americans.
Rittman was also an assistant coach at Oregon from 1988-90. During his stay, the Ducks played in the 1989 Women's College World Series, set several team and individual offensive records and produced an All-American.
Rittman graduated from New Mexico State with a degree in journalism in 1986. He was a three-year letterwinner in baseball as an outfielder at NMSU after transferring from Yavapai Junior College in Prescott, Ariz. Rittman and his wife Lorie, a former softball player at Oklahoma, are the parents of Justin and Jake.