The LMU softball team returns to action this week, traveling to Palm Springs, Calif., taking part in the prestigious Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. Play begins Thursday, Feb. 21 and runs through Saturday, Feb. 23.
Featuring a core of 13 letterwinners and a veteran coach with more than 600 wins, combined with 10 fresh faces on the field and a pair of assistant coaches who reigned during their respective collegiate careers, the LMU softball team is primed to kick off the 2013 season.
Former U.S. National Team member and Cal State Fullerton standout, Gina Oaks, has been named an assistant coach for the LMU softball program, beginning in 2012-13.
"In my opinion, Gina was the best person for this job in the whole country and we are thrilled to have her on our staff," said Ferrin. "She has played at the highest level, she is highly respected and regarded around the country, and she is a clinician beyond reproach. She brings continuity, regiment and structure and she will put us in a position to play at a different level."
Oaks most recently served as an assistant coach at Azusa Pacific, helping the team to a 102-56 record from 2010-2012, including back-to-back NAIA Tournament appearances in 2011 and 2012. It was her second stint with the Cougars after also serving as an assistant coach in 2004.
Oaks was an assistant coach at her alma mater for the 2006 and 2007 seasons where her primary duties included organizing practice, game scheduling, equipment ordering and recruiting. She helped lead the Titans to a Big West Championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006. In 2007, the Titans finished second in the Big West, won an NCAA Regional and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals.
"I am very excited to be a part of the LMU softball program and athletic department," said Oaks. "I am honored that Coach Ferrin has given me the opportunity to coach these young ladies. The potential of this team is endless and I look forward to this upcoming season!"
Oaks played four stellar seasons for the Titans from 2000-03, earning All-America honors from the NFCA as a utility player following her junior and senior seasons. She is one of only four players in the history of the Titans' program to become a four-time All-Big West Conference honoree, including earning first-team honors her sophomore through senior seasons. Oaks was the first player in the history of the Big West Conference to be named to the first team at two different positions in 2002 (pitcher and third base) and repeated the feat as a senior (pitcher and utility).
As member of numerous U.S. National Teams, Oaks won a gold medal at the prestigious Canada Cup in 2003 with the USA Elite Team and earned silver medals with the Elite team in 2002 and 2005. She also participated with the Elite Team in the 2005 Intercontinental Cup in Madrid, Spain, and the 2003 Pacific Challenge vs. Australia.
In 2004, she was a member of the NPF Champion New York/New Jersey Juggernaut and a member of the NPF East All-Star squad, finishing the year ranked tied for fourth in the league in pitching victories (12) and allowing just 26 earned runs in 131-plus innings (1.39 ERA). She held opponents to a .169 batting average.
She spent 2005-07 and 2009 on the roster of the Chicago Bandits of National Pro Fastpitch. Oaks has also played for clubs overseas including the Western Flames of the Western Australia Institute of Sport (where she was both a player and a coach from 2007-08), Team Honda of the Japanese Division A Professional Softball League (2008-10) and Club Forli of the Italian Federation Softball League (2004, 2009-10).
Oaks prepped at Rancho Cucamonga HS where she was a four-year letter winner in both softball and soccer. She was twice named to the All-CIF squad and was a four-time all-league selection. Her national team experience started early as she was a member of the U.S. Junior National Team that won a silver medal at a tournament in Taiwan.
Oaks graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 2004 with a bachelor's of science degree in kinesiology. She also earned her master's of science degree in physical education from Azusa Pacific in 2011.
Oaks, who was recently married to Aaron Garcia, resides in Alta Loma, Calif.