The Lions are having one of their best seasons in program history at the plate.
LMU Softball's hitting philosophy is breeding success at the plate in 2016. The LMU Sports Network spoke with Assistant Coach Randy Ward and players Meghan von Behren and Amanda Dirks about their approach at the plate.
Randy Ward joined the Lions softball coaching staff in June 2014 and serves as the team's primary hitting coach.
Ward guided the offense to new heights in 2015 as the Lions led the nation in doubles (106) and doubles per game (2.00). Alicia Brown finished with a single-season record with 20 two-baggers, while Meghan von Behren led the league in batting average with a .421 clip. The Lions led the league in batting average (.309), slugging percentage (.515), on base percentage (.387), doubles (106), home runs (60) and total bases (723).
Serving as co-head coach along with Sami Strinz, Ward spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons at NCAA Division II Academy of Art University in San Francisco. They led the Urban Knights to a 33-66 overall record (26-38 in the Pacific West Conference) during their tenure, finishing eighth in the PacWest each season.
With several years of Division I coaching experience, Ward joined Academy of Art after serving as an assistant coach for a Saint Mary's team that captured the 2012 Pacific Coast Softball Conference Coastal Division Championship.
After joining the SMC coaching staff in 2011, Ward helped the Gaels finish the 2012 season with a 26-23 record and stood atop the Coastal Division of the PCSC, posting a program-best 15-4 record in conference. As the hitting coach, Ward helped the Gaels finish in the top five in the conference in almost every statistical offensive category. The Gaels also hit a school-record 38 home runs and had a program-best .289 team batting average in 2012.
Ward brought a multitude of experience to the SMC program after having spent four seasons (2008-11) as the associate head coach at the University of North Dakota, specializing with hitters. In his time with UND, Ward led the Fighting Sioux to their first conference championship in program history in 2010 and helped the program put up all-time offensive numbers in runs scored, hits, home runs, stolen bases and walks.
Prior to arriving at North Dakota, Ward spent the 2007 season as an assistant coach at the University of Northern Iowa, where he worked specifically with the team's hitters and outfielders.
Ward was also the head softball coach at Nora Springs Rock Falls High School in Nora Springs, IA where he helped the team to offensive records in home runs, batting average, runs scored, and runs batted in. Before that, he spent three seasons as an assistant softball coach at North Iowa Arena Community College.
Ward, a native of Mason City, IA, graduated from Northern Iowa in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in family services.
Ward and his wife, Sami-Strinz-Ward, have two daughters, Ryli and Hayli.