Interview with coach Healy
|The Healy File
|• Age: 35
|• Alma Mater: DePaul, 1999
|• Family: Husband, Shawn; daughters, Grace & Maeve
|• Wisconsin, Head coach, 2010-present
|• Loyola University (Ill.), Head coach, 2004-2010
|• DePaul University, Assistant coach, 2002-2004
|• Big Ten Tournament: 2013
• Horizon League: 2007
|• Horizon League Coach of the Year: 2007
|DePaul head coach Eugene Lenti:
"Yvette Healy is the perfect fit for Wisconsin. She has everything you're looking for in a head coach with her leadership skills as well as her experience. She's a talented offensive coach, who loves to be aggressive, executing hit and runs, squeezes, etc. She's also a great recruiter and family-oriented person who understands what it takes to be a successful student athlete, being that she was an All-American herself."
Arkansas head coach Mike Larabee:
"Yvette is a coach that I have always had great respect for. Her teams are always very well coached, disciplined and know how to play the game with energy and passion. She will do an outstanding job in turning around the Wisconsin softball program."
Yvette Healy enters her sixth season at the helm of the program with the highest winning percentage of any UW coach in the program's 19 year history with a .609 (165-106) winning percentage.
Healy entered the 2015 season, having just led the team to its second consecutive NCAA Regional Championship. Healy directed the team to the NCAA tournament in back-to-back seasons, which had only been done once before by UW in 2001 and 2002 and only a total of three times in the history of the program.
Over the last five years, the team has posted an impressive 165-106 overall record and 58-52 conference record in the Big Ten under Healy. Her .527 winning percentage ranks highest in school history.
In the last five seasons, Wisconsin has had four 30-plus win seasons after only previously having five 30-plus win campaigns in 15 seasons.
Wisconsin has had a total of 10 first-team All-Big Ten selections in program history with eight of those coming in the Healy era. Kelsey Jenkins, who earned first-team All-Big Ten accolades in 2015, is the first freshman in UW history to collect the honor.
Healy has helped her players seen just as much success off the field as she has on the field. The Badgers have received a total of 18 combined Academic All-Big Ten recognitions in the last five seasons.
The 2015 senior class, led by walk-on Maria Van Abel (2015 All-Big Ten defensive team) along with Marissa Merch and Megan Tancill, went down as the second-winning class in school history.
In 2015, the Badgers clinched the highest season on-base percentage (.389) in school history and claimed the Wisconsin single-season walks record (176). The season also the season record for stolen bases shattered (118 stolen bases) along with setting the highest single-season batting average (.296).
At the end of the 2014 season, the Badgers finished in two final national polls for just the fourth time in the program's 19-year history and the second consecutive year. UW came in at No. 24 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 and received votes in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 for the eighth time in the season. Wisconsin finished the 2014 season at No. 32 in the NCAA Softball Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), after facing nine of the 31 teams who posted a higher RPI ranking.
The 2014 season boasted the second-highest win total (36) in school history. The Badgers defeated six ranked opponents and tied with the 1997 team for the most top-25 wins in a season. UW has won four NCAA tournament games over the last two seasons, having won one in the program's first 19 years of existence. For just the second time in program history, the team achieved a pair of NCAA tournament wins matching their run in 2013.
The conclusion of the 2014 season marked the end of incredible careers for seniors Cassandra Darrah, Mary Massei, Michelle Mueller and Stephanie Peace. Under Healy, the senior class went down in the history books as the most winningest class in UW history at 144-75.
Darrah ranks second for the most career wins with 87 and her .666 winning percentage is the best in school history (86-43). Massei finished her senior campaign with the second-most single season hits (69) and total bases (119), fourth-most single season doubles (16) and tied for fourth-most runs batted in. Her .375 batting average is sixth-best in UW single-season history. She set program records as the career leader in runs scored (142), hits (249), batting average (.370), doubles (53), triples (14), at bats (673) and total bases (402). Her three consecutive home runs against Illinois are tied for the second-most in NCAA history.
Massei was named to the Top 50 ASA/USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year watch list. Later, Mueller became the first player in UW history to be named receive ASA/USA Softball and NFCA Player of the Week honors after hitting four home runs, two doubles and collecting 18 RBI to help the Badgers to a perfect 5-0 that week.The awards didn't stop there. Mueller earned Big Ten Player of the Week for the second and third times in her career. Mueller and Taylor-Paige Stewart both earned All-Big Ten second team honors while Massei received first team honors. Massei became the first player in UW history to earn the Big Ten Medal of Honor.
The Badgers recorded the program's 500th win on April 12 with a 3-2 win over Illinois. On April 26, the Wisconsin softball team tied a school record by winning its 13th consecutive game. They did so in front of 1,371 fans, the second-largest home crowd in school history.
For the first time since 1999, UW won the series against Michigan ending it with 6-5 victory in nine innings.
The 2014 team produced a record number of six All-Region selections. In the first 18 years of Wisconsin softball, the Badgers had a total of 14 All-Region selections and had nearly half that many with the 2014 NFCA Great Lakes All-Region teams. Chloe Miller became the third freshman in UW history to earn All-Region honors.
Healy finished her third season as head coach in 2013 with a program-best 44 wins, including 16 Big Ten victories, the most ever at UW. It was the Badgers' third-consecutive 30-win season under Healy, marking the first time ever that UW recorded three straight 30-win seasons.
UW capped of its best conference season ever with its first Big Ten tournament title, defeating Northwestern, No. 6 Michigan and Minnesota during its title run.
For the first time since 2005, Wisconsin qualified for the NCAA regional where it advanced to its first ever regional title game. The Badgers broke over 30 single-season records, including the school record for runs (283), hits (458) and RBI (247). Mary Massei set new marks in seven individual categories, including batting average (.421), hits (82) and runs (51). Starting with a win against CSU-Bakersfield on March 2 and ending with a loss to Iowa on March 29, Wisconsin won a school-record 13-straight games, besting a previous mark of 11 set earlier in the season. For the first time in program history, UW's pitchers recorded three no-hitters, including a pair of no-no's by Meghan McIntosh. Wisconsin was awarded Big Ten weekly honors five times and saw five athletes earn All-Big Ten honors. Whitney Massey, Cassandra Darrah and Mary Massei were named to Great Lakes All-Region teams.
Healy marked her 100th win at Wisconsin with a 12-1 victory over Indiana on April 27, 2013.
Healy concluded her second season as head coach at Wisconsin in 2012 with a program-best tying 34 wins, including 13 Big Ten victories, the most ever at UW. It was the Badgers' second-consecutive 30-win season under Healy, marking the first time since 2002 that UW recorded back-to-back 30-win seasons.
Wisconsin's offense set school records with a .300 batting average, .385 on base percentage and .426 slugging percentage. UW recorded more runs (272), doubles (73) and RBI (230) than any other Badger softball team. Whitney Massey set a single-season record and led the Big Ten with 22 doubles, while Maria Van Abel set a freshman single-season record with 17 stolen bases.
The Badgers swept Minnesota and Penn State at Goodman Diamond on their way to a school record 13-game home win streak. Wisconsin also recorded a school-best nine-game win streak from April 3-14.Wisconsin finished the season with a victory over Nebraska. The win snapped Nebraska's 16-game home win streak and was UW's first ever victory over the Huskers. Four times Wisconsin was awarded by the Big Ten with weekly honors, as Cassandra Darrah was named pitcher of the week twice and Molly Spence and Stephanie Peace each earned player of the week honors.
In her first season at the helm of the program, Healy led the Badgers to 30 wins for just the sixth time in school history. The team's 10-game win improvement over the 2010 season tied for the second-best in school history.
Healy had three players named All-Big Ten. Karla Powell became just the third player in Badger history to be named first-team All-Big Ten and the first since Andrea Kirchberg in 2002. Mary Massei earned second team honors and Jennifer Krueger was selected for the third team.
Of the Badgers' 30 victories in Healy's first season, 15 were comeback wins. Wisconsin also won all 21 games in which it outhit opponents, something no other team in school history had done.
The 2011 Badgers tied for the 11th youngest team within the NCAA. Of the 10 teams with a higher percentage, only Pacific (37-19) had a better record than Wisconsin's 30-23 mark and Nicholls State (25-22) was the only other team with a winning record.
Healy's first season with the Badgers produced record results. As a team, the Badgers recorded the most stolen bases in a season with 107, 37 more than the previous record. Jennifer Krueger became Wisconsin's all-team stolen base leader, finishing with 98. Krueger also set the single-season record with 43 stolen bases, which is more than any other player in Wisconsin history has had in their career. Michelle Mueller also set the school's freshman record for the number of stolen bases in a season with 15.
On July 24, 2010, Healy became the third coach in UW history.
The 2007 Horizon League Coach of the Year, Healy guided the Loyola (Ill.) Ramblers to a top-four conference finish in every season she was at the helm. She has coached four NFCA All-Mideast Region players over the last four seasons, and the team set the single-season school record for batting average (.292) in 2010. Healy's team also set single-season Loyola records for stolen bases (116) and home runs (37) in 2009.
"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join the University of Wisconsin family,"Healy said. "The UW athletic department has a world-renowned legacy of winning on a national stage and in the Big Ten.I am thrilled to partner with the inspirational leadership team of Barry Alvarez, Shawn Eichorst and Terry Gawlik to bring Badger softball to national prominence.
"The nationally-ranked academic degrees, athletic facilities, financial support and family-atmosphere make Wisconsin a perfect fit for the nation's most talented softball student-athletes. My husband Shawn and I feel extremely fortunate to raise our daughter Grace in Madison, one of the safest, friendliest and most beautiful towns in the country."
As Healy was winning coach of the year honors in the Horizon League in 2007, the team was capturing the conference title with a 14-5 record. Pitcher Amy Solava was also named the league's pitcher of the year, just the third player in school history to earn the award.
Off the field, Healy was instrumental in the team's community service participation. She was a part of numerous campaigns to give back, including the Strike Out Cancer Fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a team canned food drive and the Shamrocks for Kids Campaign. The team was given the 2007 Horizon League Community Outreach Award.
In addition, Healy served as a mentor for the Girls in the Game program as well as at the Misericordia Home for Mentally and Physically Challenged.
Healy's teams have also excelled in the classroom. The 2010 team was the recipient of the 2010 NCAA Academic Performance Program APR Award, while nine players in her time were named Academic All-District by ESPN the Magazine and 25 were chosen as Scholar Athletes by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
She took over as head coach at Loyola in July of 2004 after spending two seasons as an assistant at her alma mater, DePaul. While with the Blue Demons, Healy coached five All-Americans as the team won the Conference USA title in 2003 and 2004 to make the NCAA tournament.
A two time All-American and three-time Academic All-American as a player, Healy ranks second on the DePaul single-season chart with a .424 batting average and is the school's all-time leader with 102 stolen bases. In her senior campaign in 1999, Healy led the Blue Demons to a school-record 54 victories, an NCAA Regional Championship and the College World Series as the team wrapped up the year ranked third in the nation. She earned All-Mideast Region honors on three occasions as well.
Prior to her collegiate coaching career, Healy worked for the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox Academy as Director of Marketing. She also served as head softball coach at her alma mater Providence Catholic High School, where she was the salutatorian at her graduation in 1995.
Healy graduated cum laude and earned her bachelor's degree in marketing and communications from DePaul in 1999 and her master's in secondary education and English from DePaul in 2007. She and her husband Shawn will celebrate their 11th wedding anniversary in August. They currently reside in Madison with their two daughters, Grace (6) and Maeve (2).