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University of Iowa

University of Iowa Hawkeyes Athletics
N411 Carver-Hawkeye Arena Iowa City, IA 522421020
Division 1 Iowa Midwest
Public Very Large National competitor

Coaches

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Renee Gillispie

Renee Gillispie (gill-ESPY) completed her fourth season as the head coach of the University of Iowa softball program in 2022. She was selected as the fifth head coach in program history on June 8, 2018.


2022


In 2022, the Hawkeye’s finished 21-31 overall, and 3-20 in conference.


Coach Gillispie reached her 900th career win against Cornell on February 27th. Gillispie ranks 19th among active coaches in D1 and 38th all-time.


Junior outfielder Nia Carter was NFCA First-Team All-Region. She hit .405 with 66 hits, 18 RBI, slugged .466 and had an on-base percentage of .464. Her .405 batting average ranking seventh in single season school history. Carter led the team in batting average, hits, runs scored (26), triples (3), and total bases (76).


In the classroom, Iowa recorded 11 Academic All-Big Ten honorees.


2021


In 2021 the Hawkeyes achieved their highest regular season conference finish since 2012 and set a new program record with 26 conference wins.


In the circle Iowa’s ERA ranked 31st in the nation (2.34), and two of Iowa’s three senior pitchers ranked in the top 10 in the Big Ten in ERA.


Senior pitcher Allison Doocy was named second team All-Region, and freshman Denali Loecker was named second team All-Big Ten. Loecker and Brylee Klosterman were both named to the All-Freshman team.


At the plate freshman Denali Loecker led the team in batting average, doubles, home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage. Sophomore Nia Carter ranked as the toughest batter to strikeout in the Big Ten (23.7 K Average).


In the classroom, Iowa set a program record for the second straight year with 12 Academic All-Big Ten honorees. In addition, two of those honorees – Allison Doocy and Aralee Bogar – were named Big Ten Distinguished Scholars.


2020


Gillispie had Iowa on a resurgent pace in 2020 before the cancellation of the season due to Covid-19. The Hawkeyes finished the season 17-5 and first in the Big Ten. Iowa was on pace to have its best season since 2009, that year’s team won 42 games.


In the circle, Iowa had two of the conference’s best pitchers in senior Allison Doocy and junior Lauren Shaw. Doocy was second in the Big Ten with a 1.54 ERA, while Shaw ranked fourth with a 1.71 ERA. The duo combined for 16 wins and 163 strikeouts. Under Gillispie’s guidance, Shaw earned her first Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honor on Feb. 17.


Iowa pitchers struck out the most batters in the fewest innings in the Big Ten (150.0 IP; 169 strikeouts).


At the plate, Iowa was led by a pair of freshmen in Nia Carter and Kalena Burns. In 22 games, Carter was the only Big Ten player batting over .500 (.509) and was 11th nationally. On Feb. 24, Carter became the first player in program history to win Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Week in the same week. Burns was Iowa’s power through the 22-game season. Burns led the team with five homeruns and was tied for fifth in the conference. Burns also ranked fifth in the conference in RBIs (20) and was fourth in hits (29). Burns was named the Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week.


In the field, the Hawkeyes reigned supreme in the Big Ten. Iowa was first in the conference with a .976 fielding percentage with a conference-low 15 errors.


Gillispie helped Iowa win four weekly conference honors in 2020, the most since 2011.


In the classroom, Iowa set a program record with 11 Academic All-Big Ten honorees. In addition, four of those honorees – Allison Doocy, Aralee Bogar, Lauren Shaw, and Ashley Hamilton – were named Big Ten Distinguished Scholars.


2019


In 2019, the Iowa softball team finished the 2019 season 19-32 in Gillispie’s first season. The Hawkeyes saw their longest winning streak since 2009 with eight straight wins during the nonconference season. Junior Allison Doocy was named second-team All-Big Ten for the second consecutive year. Academically, Iowa has two student-athletes named B1G Distinguished Scholars and three named Academic All-Big Ten.


Gillispie came to Iowa after 18 years as head coach at UCF where she compiled a record of 625-403-1 (.608), won five conference championships, and advanced to seven NCAA Regionals, including four straight regional final appearances. Gillispie has won the A-Sun Championship (2005), CUSA Championship (2008), and AAC Championship (2014 & 2015).


Gillispie spent one season as an assistant coach with Coach Tim Walton and Coach Beth Torina winning the 2010 NPF Championship Tournament. The Pride roster featured multiple Olympians, which includes ESPN softball analyst Jessica Mendoza along with Caitlin Lowe and Natasha Watley.


Gillispie is a native of Danville, Iowa, and played collegiately at Kirkwood and West Texas A&M University.


Gillispie started UCF’s Division I program in 2002, and averaged more than 36 wins per season. She has coached 75 all-conference honorees, 35 all-tournament selections, and 25 NFCA all-region selections. Eighty players have earned academic all-conference honors.


In 2014 and 2015, Gillispie’s staff was named AAC Coaching Staff of the Year, and in 2015 was named the All-Regional Coaching Staff of the Year. The Knights set a school record with 50 wins that season, leading the NCAA with a 0.93 earned run average. Central Florida’s .979 fielding percentage ranked second nationally that same year. The Knights reached as high as No. 13 in the national rankings, and finished the season ranked No. 16.


Prior to UCF, Gillispie spent four years building the Texas Tech program. She led the Red Raiders to a No. 17 national ranking in 1998 and a No. 24 ranking the following season. Her team placed runner-up at the 1999 NCAA Regional.


Prior to her time at Texas Tech, Gillispie rebuilt softball programs at Bradley University and Joliet Junior College. In 1993, she took over a Bradley program that finished 12-25 in 1992, and in two years posted a record-breaking 33-8 season. The 1994 team finished in second place in the Missouri Valley Conference and ranked fifth in the nation in winning percentage.


Gillispie received N4C Conference Coach of the Year honors as head coach of the 1992 Joliet (Ill.) Junior College team that won the conference championship. She inherited a 2-29 team in 1991, and led Joliet a 32-12 record in 1992, placing runner-up at the NJCAA Regional.


Gillispie worked as an instructor with the Griffey International Gold Medal Camp, and Higher Ground Camps and Clinics under British National coach Bobby Simpson. She has served as an international speaker for the Italian Softball and Baseball Federation Coaches Convention, and traveled to Athens, Greece, as a guest coach for the Greek National Team in 2001.


Gillispie pitched in two NJCAA National Championship Tournaments while at Kirkwood. In 1981, she ranked ninth nationally as a NJCAA pitcher. Moving on to West Texas A&M University, she set nine career pitching records, including career wins, strikeouts, and saves. Gillispie was inducted into the West Texas A&M Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Danville High School Wall of Pride in 2013.

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Email coach

Brian Levin

Brian Levin was named an assistant coach with the Iowa Softball program on July 20, 2022.


Levin (Leh-VANN) brings 12 years of head coaching experience and a 405-215 career record to Iowa City. He joins the Hawkeyes after a stint as the head coach of Southern Mississippi. In his three years with the Golden Eagles, Levin compiled a 65-62 record with a 29-23 mark in 2022.


In 2022, Levin coached Tata Davis, Destini Brown, and Jana Lee to All-Conference USA honors. Brown and Lee were NFCA All-South Region honorees.


Levin took over at Southern Miss after spending three seasons as the head coach at Belmont University. In those three seasons, the team advanced to two OVC Tournaments and posted a 91-70 record. The 91 wins are the most the history of the program over a three-year span.


Prior to Belmont, Levin had a six-year run at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. During that time, he led the Tritons to a 249-83 record, including a 150-25 mark his final three seasons.


Levin led UMSL to four consecutive NCAA Division II Tournament berths, including consecutive Super Regional appearances in 2014 and 2015, and three straight Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament championships


At UMSL, Levin coached eight All-America honorees, 21 All-Region selections and 37 All-GLVC selections. He was named GLVC Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2015.


Levin also spent three seasons as field manager of the Akron Racers of the NPF, where he coached nine All-NPF selections and he was part of the 2014 NPF Coaching Staff of the Year.


Levin began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant at Murray State University.


The Granite City, Illinois, native founded STAAR hitting mechanics and camps and the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Clarksville Heat Softball Organization in Clarksville, Tennessee.


Levin spent 20 years in the military, including 15 stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with the 5th Special Forces Group. Among his responsibilities, Levin organized and trained combat forces. While stationed at Fort Campbell, he was an active volunteer coach for football, baseball and softball at Fort Campbell High School.


Levin played collegiate football and baseball at Peru State College where he was a two-time all-conference player. Levin earned All-America placekicker honors in college.


He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Peru State College in 1988 and a master’s degree from Northcentral University in sports management and leadership in 2009.


Levin is married to the former Michelle Morgan and has two children, Alisha and Matthew. Alisha played softball for Providence College, while Matthew played football at the University of Dubuque.

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Email coach

Mandy Gardner

Mandy Gardner is in her first season as an assistant coach with the Iowa softball program.


Gardner joins the Hawkeyes after a stint as an assistant coach at UC San Diego. In the 2022 season, she helped the Tritons’ pitching staff lead the Big West Conference in strikeouts and was second in ERA. Gardner coached two pitchers to Big West All-Conference team honors in her one year at UCSD. One of those pitchers being Jada Cecil, who was named the conference’s Pitcher of the Year and was a Top 10 Finalist for Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I Freshman of the Year after winning 20 games and posting a 1.88 ERA in her rookie season.


Gardner joined the UCSD staff after spending six years at Grand Canyon University (GCU) as both a graduate assistant and a full-time assistant.


In her three years as assistant coach, she served as the pitching coach for the Lopes. In her first season as an assistant, Gardner led the GCU pitching staff to a 1.85 ERA during conference play, which led the WAC. During her tenure as the GCU pitching coach, Gardner had four pitchers named to all-WAC teams.


During her GCU tenure, Gardner coached a pitching staff with a nationally ranked staff ERA for multiple years and coached pitchers who had top 5 career and season statistics in earned run average, batting average against, shutouts, career wins, and strikeouts. She also coached the WAC Preseason Pitcher of the Year in 2020 and 2021.


Prior to being named assistant coach in June 2018 at GCU, Gardner served as a graduate assistant for three seasons (2016-18), assisting the coaching staff in off-field operations as well as practices and game day operations.


Gardner joined the Lopes after a Division I playing career that included a two-year stay at Michigan, where she was a two-time Big Ten Champion, and three years at Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten. She was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a volunteer for the Special Olympics while pursuing her undergraduate degree.


Gardner earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Maryland in 2015 and she received her master’s in special education from Grand Canyon in 2018.


Gardner also has familial history at Iowa – her grandfather, former college basketball coach Joedy Gardner, was on the Iowa men’s basketball staff in the ‘80s. He spent two seasons as an assistant under head coach George Raveling (84-85).

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