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High school softball: Coaches with 1,000 or more wins

All-time leader Larry Niemeyer averaged 37 wins for 56 years at Iowa's Jefferson.

2021-June-11
The math is simple, yet staggering. Multiply 40 x 50 and you get 2,000. That's 40 wins a year times 50 years equals 2,000 wins. A high school school coach could accomplish that unimaginable feat and yet still come up 89 wins short of passing Jefferson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) coaching legend Larry Niemeyer.

Niemeyer heads a list of high school softball coaches with 1,000 or more wins and his total is one of the more amazing feats in high school sports. With 2,089 career wins over 56 seasons, Niemeyer averaged 37 wins a year. By comparison, only about 30 high schools in the nation won 37 or more games during the 2019 season (the last full high school softball season). He also finished nearly 250 wins ahead of No. 2 Frank Huston, who retired in 2019 with 1,853.

In real estate, there's the old adage, "location, location, location." The same is true for high school softball coaches, and those three locations are Iowa, Michigan and Alabama. Of the 34 coaches on the list with over 1,000 wins, only four came from states other than those three. Iowa has 17 coaches on the list, including the top eight while Michigan has nine. Alabama has three while California, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Illinois have one each.

Sources for the list include the National Federation of High Schools record book, the Iowa Softball Coaches Association record book, state association record books and the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book by Mark and Nelson Tennis. Additions or corrections? [email protected]
Carlmont coach Jim Liggett has 1,009 wins.
File photo by Doug Stringer
Carlmont coach Jim Liggett has 1,009 wins.
High school softball coaches with 1,000-plus wins

1. Larry Niemeyer
Wins:
2,089
Schools: Jefferson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Years: 1958-2013
Total Record: 2,089-429

2. Frank Huston
Wins:
1,853
Schools: Ottumwa (Iowa), Pekin (Packwood, Iowa), Gladbrook-Reinbeck (Iowa)
Years: 1967-2019
Total Record:1,853-508

3. Ed Coughenour
Wins:
1,444
Schools: Kingsley-Pierson (Kingsley, Iowa)
Years: 1956-2006
Total Record: 1,444-375

4. Gary Page
Wins:
1,400
Schools: Urbandale (Iowa)
Years: 1966-2000
Total Record: 1,400-462

5. Bill Hennessy
Wins:
1,374
Schools: Roland-Story (Story City, Iowa)
Years: 1955-2000
Total Record: 1,374-571

6. Steve Schlafke
Wins:
1,261
Schools: Garnavillo, Audubon (Iowa), A-D-M (Adel, Iowa), Dallas Center-Grimes (Iowa)
Years: 1976-present
Total Record: 1,261-628

7. Dennis Johnson
Wins:
1,249
Schools: North Scott (Eldridge, Iowa)
Years: 1975-2001, 2006-14
Total Record: 1,249-298-1

8. Bob Bunting
Wins:
1,217
Schools: Lisbon (Iowa)
Years: 1969-present
Total Record: 1,217-637

9. Diane Laffey
Wins:
1,212
Schools: Regina (Warren, Mich.)
Years: 1963-present
Total Record: 1,212-485-5

10. Brad Walraven
Wins:
1,195
Schools: All Saints Central (Bay City, Mich.), Frankenmuth (Mich.)
Years: 1980-present
Total Record: 1,195-356-3

11. Jim Brown
Wins:
1,186
Schools: Hoover (Ala.)
Years: 1991-2013
Total Record: 1,186-319-1

12. Tom Kennelly
Wins:
1,184
Schools: Swan Valley (Saginaw, Mich.)
Years: 1980-present
Total Record: 1,184-302-1

13. Steve Saladino
Wins:
1,179
Schools: Davenport West (Davenport, Iowa)
Years: 1979-present
Total Record: 1,179 wins

14. Rick Dillinger
Wins:
1,174
Schools: A-D-M (Adel, Iowa), North Polk (Alleman, Iowa), Danville (Iowa)
Years: 1976-2018
Total Record: 1,174-555

15. Denny Dock
Wins:
1,170
Schools: Dowagiac (Mich.), Lakeshore (Stevensville, Mich.)
Years: 1976-81, 1985-88, 1990-present
Total Record: 1,170-316-2

16. Dick Rasmussen
Wins:
1,165
Schools: Ankeny (Iowa), South Hamilton (Jewell, Iowa)
Years: 1965-1996
Total Record: 1,165-314

17. Jim Flaws
Wins:
1,142
Schools: Carlisle (Iowa), Dow City-Arion,
Years: 1983-present
Total Record: 1,142-227

18. Joe Gilbert
Wins:
1,140
Schools: Barnsdall (Okla.)
Years: 1954-2020
Total Record: 1,140 wins

19. Joe Alsup
Wins:
1,140
Schools: Waterford Township (Mich.); Mott (Waterford, Mich.); Kettering (Waterford, Mich.), Lakeland (White Lake, Mich.)
Years: 1975-94, 1998-2019
Total Record: 1,140-274

20. Mike Vint
Wins:
1,108
Schools: Marshalltown (Iowa), East Marshall (Le Grand, Iowa), Green Mountain
Years: 1971-2010
Total Record: 1,108-403

21. Ted McIntyre
Wins:
1,081
Schools: Mt. Pleasant (Mich.)
Years: 1975-2019
Total Record: 1,081-414

22. Larry Heath
Wins:
1,078
Schools: Burlington (Iowa)
Years: 1985-present
Total Record: 1,078-431

23. Tony Scarbrough
Wins:
1,071
Schools: Baker (Mobile, Ala.)
Years: 1970-present
Total Record: 1,071 wins

24. Jerry Newton
Wins:
1,068
Schools: Charles City (Iowa)
Years: 1967-1999
Total Record: 1,068-190

25. Dennis Schuur
Wins:
1,052
Schools: Muscatine (Iowa), Lake City (Iowa)
Years: 1989-2015
Total Record: 1,052-251

26. Ton Vruggink
Wins:
1,052
Schools: Hudsonville (Mich.)
Years: 1982-present
Total Record: 1,052-274

27. John Biedenbach
Wins:
1,050
Schools: Trenton (Mich.)
Years: 1975-present
Total Record: 1,050-500-6

28. Randy Wolken
Wins:
1,044
Schools: St. Joseph-Ogden (St. Joseph, Ill.)
Years: 1980-2018
Total Record: 1,044-242

29. Gary Adams
Wins:
1,043
Schools: Crescent (Iva, S.C.)
Years: 1977-2019
Total Record: 1,043-169

30. Howard Stuart
Wins:
1,043
Schools: Richmond (Mich.)
Years: 1979-present
Total Record: 1,043-308-1

31. Bob Bradfield
Wins:
1,041
Schools: Fairfield (Iowa)
Years: 1979-present
Total Record: 1,041-652

32. Howard Dorman
Wins:
1,019
Schools: Belmond-Klemme (Belmond, Iowa), Woden-Crystal Lake-Titonka (Crystal Lake, Iowa)
Years: 1960-2008
Total Record: 1,019-429

33. Dale Palmer,
Wins:
1,016
Schools: Sparkman (Harvest, Ala.)
Years: 1997-present
Total Record: 1,016 wins

34. Jim Liggett
Wins:
1,009
Schools: Carlmont (Belmont, Calif.)
Years: 1976-2016
Total Record: 1,009-216