FAU Softball Coach Joan Joyce Gets 900th Career Win
By: Michael Demyan
The Florida Atlantic University softball team took the victory at Western Kentucky on Sunday, March 19, which gave head coach Joan Joyce her 900th career win.
Before becoming the head coach for the FAU Owls, Joyce pitched for all but a few years of her softball career with the Raybestos Brakettes in Connecticut. She dominated from the mound with a lifetime record of 753-42 and a 0.09 ERA.
Joyce broke numerous pitching and batting records, which included 18 consecutive all-star selections, 42 victories in a single season and a .467 batting average in 1971. During exhibition games, she even struck out Major League Baseball Hall of Fame inductees Ted Williams and Hank Aaron.
In 1994, Joyce was named FAU’s first softball head coach and has been the only coach the team has ever had. Throughout all of her success as a coach however, she had no clue she was approaching the milestone and gave the credit to her players.
“I honestly didn’t even know about it until after the game, but it’s just a testament to the players we’ve had here over the years,” she said.
Joyce led the team in their inaugural 1995 season to a 33-18 record, which netted her the A-Sun Coach of the Year Award. Two years later, the program started an incredible run of eight consecutive Conference Championships and seven NCAA Tournament appearances.
The team struggled in 2012, marking their first year with a sub-.500 record and was followed with another the next year, but in 2014, the Owls started to regain their previous form. Last year, they finished the season at 51-9, which is the best win-loss record in the team’s history. They also captured their 11th Conference Championship and 12th NCAA Tournament appearance.
Sunday’s game saw a dominant performance from Tatum Buckley, who was just named the Conference USA Pitcher of the Week. She improved her record to 3-2 after pitching a complete game, only allowing a run on three hits.
FAU first got on the board in the third inning. Carolyn Rosa scored on a base hit by Emily Lochten after pinch running for Lauren Whitt. Delaney Rickey followed with a double and Mia Olson walked to load the bases, but a pop fly ended the threat.
The Owls’ big inning came in the fifth due to defensive blunders from WKU. With one out, Lochten and Rickey hit back-to-back singles and Lochten scored on a throwing error from WKU shortstop Brittany Vaughn. With two outs and two runners in scoring position, Alex Miller hit a ball by the first baseman, who was charged with an error, which brought home two more unearned runs and extended the lead to four.
In the seventh, Buckey was just two outs shy of the shutout when WKU catcher Taylor Proctor hit a solo home run to put her team on the board. Buckey was able to keep her composure and retired the next two hitters to close out the 4-1 win.
The win improved the Owls’ record to 20-10 and they are now 3-0 in C-USA. Not only was the win the 900th for Joyce, but it was also the 900th for FAU’s softball program.
They will now be returning home for a doubleheader on Saturday, March 25, which begins a three-game series against Charlotte.