Melinda Fischer
Melinda Fischer

Position:
Head Coach

Alma Mater:
Illinois State `72

05/08/2014

Redbirds to Open MVC Tournament in Semifinals, Friday

Second-seeded ISU is aiming for its seventh MVC Softball Championship title.

05/02/2014

MVC Title at Stake When First-Place Redbirds Host Second-Place Shockers

Whichever team wins the series will claim the crown and the top-seed in next weekend's MVC Tournament.

04/25/2014

Redbirds Embark on Final Road Trip to Missouri State

The three-game set starts with a noon doubleheader on Saturday, before concluding with a single noon game on Sunday.

04/11/2014

First-Ever MVC Matchup With Loyola On Tap for Redbirds

ISU will go for its fourth-straight MVC series win this weekend in Chicago.

04/08/2014

Non-Conference Slate Concludes With "Strike Out Cancer" vs. DePaul

Wednesday's 5 p.m., match up will mark the Redbirds' 27th and final non-conference game.

06/12/2013

Redbird Softball Season Recap

04/04/2013

WJBC Redbird Recap - Northern Illinois. vs. ISU

WJBC Redbird Recap - Northern Illinois. vs. ISU

05/24/2012

ISU Softball Regional Highlights

ISU Softball Regional Highlights

05/13/2012

WJBC Recap - Softball MVC Championship Game

WJBC Recap - Softball MVC Championship Game

02/13/2012

Softball Media Day Press Conference

04/09/2014

Strike Out Cancer: Illinois State vs. DePaul

The Redbirds fell to DePaul,3-1, in the annual Strike Out Cancer game at Marian Kneer Stadium.

04/28/2013

04-28: Senior Day vs. UNI

The Redbirds fell to Northern Iowa, 9-3, on Senior Day at Marian Kneer Stadium.

04/07/2013

4-7: vs. Missouri State

The Redbirds knocked off Missouri State, 9-1 in six innings, to take the series, 2-1.

04/06/2013

0406: vs. Missouri State

The Redbirds and Bears split a doubleheader, April 6. ISU won game one, 1-0, before dropping game two, 7-4.

Only 13 active head coaches in NCAA Division I softball can claim to have won at least 900 games in their coaching career. Illinois State head coach Melinda Fischer, who recently completed her 29th season at the helm of the Redbird softball program, can claim such an honor. And many more.

The all-time winningest coach in Illinois State Athletics history. Missouri Valley Conference All-Centennial Head Softball Coach. A combined nine Missouri Valley Conference and Gateway Athletic Conference regular-season championships. A 2010 NFCA Hall of Fame inductee. All of that and more define Illinois State head softball coach Melinda Fischer.

Coaching History
Eastern Illinois: 41-25 (1979-80)
Illinois State: 934-639-4 (1986-Present)
Overall Record: 975-664-4 (.595)

Career Coaching Accomplishments
2010 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Hall of Fame Inductee
Winningest Coach in Illinois State Athletics history
Winningest Coach in MVC softball history
Missouri Valley Conference All-Cententiall Head Softball Coach
Six-time Valley Coach of the Year (1987, '95, '96, '99, '01, '06)
2006 NFCA Region Coaching Staff of the Year
2002 NFCA Distinguished Service Award
1987 Midwest Region Coach of the Year
Two-time inductee to ISU Athletics Hall of Fame
Ranks 18th all-time or NCAA Division I softball wins
Ranks 11th for career wins among active NCAA Division I coaches
Nine NCAA Tournament appearances
10 MVC/Gateway regular-season championships
Five MVC/Gateway Tournament titles

Record at ISU
Year
Overall
Conference
Finish
2014 25-28 17-8 2nd
2013 28-20 13-7 3rd
2012 37-23 18-8 2nd
2011 36-19 21-5 1st
2010 32-20 19-5 2nd
2009 24-26 12-11 5th
2008
28-20
17-7
2nd
2007
44-17-1
18-7-1
2nd
2006
38-16
19-4
1st
2005
31-21
13-14
6th
2004
33-19-1
18-9
3rd
2003
29-23
20-6
1st
2002
34-17
21-4
1st
2001
37-18
19-3
1st
2000
27-33
10-8
5th
1999
31-21
14-4
2nd
1998
20-30
7-11
8th
1997
28-21
14-2
1st
1996
35-19
15-2
1st
1995
46-14
19-1
1st
1994
36-21
11-7
3rd
1993
26-34
11-7
4th
1992
24-35-2
8-9-1
5th
1991
37-21
13-5
2nd
1990
29-26
12-2
1st
1989
24-28
12-4
2nd
1988
39-12
13-3
2nd
1987
41-20
11-7
3rd
1986
35-17
13-5
1st
Totals
934-639-4
416-175-2

Postseason Appearances
2012 NCAA Regional
2011 NCAA Regional
2010 NCAA Regional
2007
NCAA Regional
2006
NCAA Regional
2001
NCAA Regional
2000
NCAA Regional
1995
NCAA Regional
1988
NCAA Regional

Fischer's 975 career victories, spread out among 31 seasons as a collegiate head coach (at both Eastern Illinois [1979-80] and Illinois State [1986-present]), rank her as the 18th-winningest coach in NCAA Division I softball history and the 11th-winningest active head coach. She's continued her historical rise through the career coaching ranks with her 900th-career victory, a feat she achieved via a 4-0 win at Missouri State on March 16, 2012.

Simply put, Fischer knows how to motivate her student-athletes to succeed.

Fischer has more wins in her Illinois State head coaching career than any other coach in Redbird Athletics history, with an ISU softball head coaching record that stands at 934-639-4 after the 2014 season. She won her 900th and 901st games at ISU with a doubleheader sweep of Bradley, April 11, 2013.

She earned her 714th-career victory at Illinois State April 14, 2007, with a win over Drake, and in the process, passed legendary Redbird baseball coach Duffy Bass (deceased), as the all-time winningest coach in Redbird Athletics history. In May 2007, Fischer was recognized by the Missouri Valley Conference as the league's All-Centennial Team head coach. Additionally, Fischer is not only the Missouri Valley Conference's winningest coach of all-time, but also its winningest coach in conference play.

During her 28 previous seasons at the helm of the Illinois State softball program, Fischer has directed the Redbirds to national prominence, most recently with their ninth NCAA Regional appearance in 2012. Fischer has led her teams to 10 regular-season Valley titles. She also has two Gateway regular-season championships to her credit, as well as four Valley Tournament titles.

Her success and devotion to softball extends beyond Illinois State, as she was the first recipient of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Distinguished Service Award at the Speedline Coach of the Year/NFCA Hall of Fame Banquet in December 2002.

In addition to guiding her teams to high levels of success, Fischer's numerous awards and honors, plus her team's accolades, speak for themselves.

A recipient of six conference coach of the year honors, Fischer has led a coaching staff that was honored as both the Missouri Valley Conference Coaching Staff of the Year and the Speedline/NFCA Great Lakes Region Coaching Staff of the year in 2006. Two regional coach of the year citations, 17 All-Americans, five College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-Americans and countless other honors highlight Illinois State's success under Fischer.

Fischer's attraction to softball started well before she became head softball coach at Illinois State in 1986. She began her coaching career in 1974 after a four-year stint as an ISU student-athlete. She became a graduate assistant coach for ISU's softball and basketball teams while completing a master's degree in physical education.

As an athlete at Illinois State, Fischer helped lead the Redbirds to the 1969 Women's College World Series, where they finished second.

Although the team fell one game shy of winning the first Women's College World Series, her contribution to the team led to her induction into the ISU Athletics Hall of Fame as a member of the 1969 national runner-up softball team. She has also been inducted as a coach in 1993.

Knowing she would work her way back to NCAA Division I softball, Fischer started a three-year coaching stint at Eastern Illinois in 1976 after earning her master's degree at ISU. Fischer was originally hired as the head women's basketball coach, a post she held for three years.

She took over the Panther softball program after her first year.

In two years with EIU softball, Fischer led the Panthers to a 41-25 mark, including a 1980 season that saw Eastern Illinois crowned the Illinois Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (IAIAW) State Champion, which secured the Panthers a spot in the regional championship.

Fischer returned to her alma mater to become a co-head coach of the women's basketball team in 1980. She joined her former coach and fellow ISU Athletics Hall of Famer Dr. Jill Hutchison for the next five seasons. During her first two seasons, she also served as an assistant coach for the softball team before taking over as head coach in 1986.

In 1988, her team advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. Then in 1995, her squad compiled 46 wins - the third-highest total by any team in ISU Athletics history - and claimed another conference title with a 19-1 MVC mark.

Not only does Fischer have a knack for winning and attracting quality players, she is a respected leader in the softball community.

Fischer first became a member of the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) in 1960 and has been appointed as an NCAA Regional representative for numerous regional tournaments, as well as serving on NCAA Regional ranking committees. She has served as chair of the NFCA All-American Committee and is currently the NFCA Convention Director. She is also tournament director for the NFCA Leadoff Classic, held annually in Georgia. From 1993-97, Fischer served as the first-vice president for the NFCA.

Fischer continues to utilize her softball knowledge, not only as a coach and administrator, but also as a teacher. She contributes her skill through camps and clinics, while continuing to mold Illinois State into a national contender.