Richmond wins No. 700, 701

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Redhawks swept Northern Iowa as coach Lana Richmond reached a milestone.

Rain might have put a damper on the Southeast Spring Classic, but it didn't stop Southeast Missouri State softball coach Lana Richmond from reaching a major career milestone.

Richmond picked up her 700th win Sunday as the Redhawks beat visiting Northern Iowa 9-3 in the first game of a doubleheader. Southeast then completed the sweep with a 5-4, eight-inning triumph.

Heavy rain overnight Saturday left Southeast's field in pretty bad shape, meaning the remaining four games of the Southeast Spring Classic -- a four-team tournament that began Saturday -- could not be completed Sunday as scheduled.

Lipscomb and IUPUI elected to head home, but Northern Iowa is on spring break and was interested in playing some more games, so the field was worked on and made playable for a twi-night twin bill.

When the Redhawks romped in the opener, Richmond had her historic victory. She is now 701-457-2 in her 24th season at Southeast.

"That means I've been in a lot of ballgames," said a smiling Richmond between contests, just moments after receiving a plaque on the field from Southeast associate athletic director Cindy Gannon commemorating the 700th win.

Richmond is the winningest softball coach in Ohio Valley Conference history, and one of the nation's winningest active coaches.

She is also the winningest coach, regardless of sport, in Southeast history. In addition to her softball accomplishments, she compiled a 203-91 record in seven seasons as Southeast's volleyball coach from 1982 to 1988.

"We just appreciate everything she has done for the university," Gannon said. "To get 700 wins is outstanding, and so is all the lives she has touched since she's been here."

And that, said the 47-year-old Richmond, means more to her than any on-the-field success.

Richmond, a four-time OVC coach of the year, led Southeast to five straight OVC titles from 1995 to 1999. She is also a two-time national Division II coach of the year, having led Southeast to the DIvision II final four in 1991.

"What really means the most to me is running into people I've coached, and getting calls from them, letting me know what's going on in their lives," she said. "When I hear all the productive things they've done ... they won't remember all the scores, but they'll remember the time they spent here."

Richmond, a Kentucky native, came to Southeast just one year out of Berea (Ky.) College, after spending a year coaching at Georgetown (Ky.) College.

"I had just turned 23 and I'll be forever grateful to [former Southeast athletic director] Marvin Rosengarten for hiring me," Richmond said. "It's been great here, and hopefully I can keep going for a while."

As for what happened on the field Sunday, the Redhawks (7-7) left little doubt that Richmond would get win No. 700 out of the way quickly.

Southeast, after getting 24 hits in its second of two games Saturday, had 12 hits and three home runs in the opener against Northern Iowa (6-11-1).

Michelle Summers, Stephanie Huffman and freshman Jenn Monaghan all homered. Huffman also doubled and drove in five runs, while Summers doubled as well. Monaghan and fellow freshman Amber Peterson both added two hits.

Elaine Fisher (3-5) pitched all seven innings, allowing nine hits, with five strikeouts and one walk.

In the nightcap, Monaghan's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning ended the contest. She had two of Southeast's nine hits, as did Summers and Huffman. Freshman Lauren Bradley homered.

Huffman (3-2) scattered 14 hits over eight innings for the win. She struck out three and walked none.

The Redhawks open OVC play Saturday at Austin Peay.

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