FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State head softball coach Margie Wright spoke publically on Monday for the first time since announcing that she would retire at the end of the 2012 season.
Wright made the announcement Sunday evening and on Monday following practice at Bulldog Diamond, the stadium she built before the 1996 season and won 413 games in, she talked about her decision to retire.
"I got into it because I love coaching, I love competition and I love the players and that's how I'm leaving it," Wright said. "The time just seemed right. It's been 27 awesome years in the community and being able to coach all the young women that we've had in the program has really be awesome."
Her accomplishments on the Diamond are as good as it gets. In fact there has been no better coach in the game of softball.
With a 1,454-539-3 (.728) record in 33 seasons as a Division I coach, Wright is softball's all-time winningest coach in NCAA history. She is 1,291-448-1 (.742) in 27 seasons at Fresno State and has brought the program to unparalleled heights, including the 1998 NCAA National Championship that was the school's first-ever NCAA Division I team title.
Wright has led the Bulldogs to 10 NCAA Women's College World Series appearances. She also has led the program to three national runner-up finishes, three third place showings and three fifth-place performances in the WCWS. In addition, the 10-time conference coach of the year has led the softball program to 17 outright or shared conference titles.
"Of course the national championship is a highlight," Wright said about the highlights of her career. "I think more of a highlight to me is just about every kid that went through their four years at Fresno State graduated."
Wright has coached 16 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans - a mark that ranks her No. 1 overall among active coaches while the softball program ranks third overall among Division I schools with 18 honorees. Wright also has overseen 138 all-conference picks, 89 NCAA All-Region, 53 All-Americans, 16 NCAA individual statistical champions, four NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Award winners, two NCAA Top VIII Awardees, 15 Olympians, eight professionals and two No. 1 professional draft picks while averaging 48 wins a season.
Even with Sunday's announcement, the fire still burns in her to win.
"The WAC Tournament's next," Wright said when asked what was next for her. "After that, hopefully regionals and trying to get [this team] to go as far as they can go."
The legendary coach ushers her team down to Las Cruces, N.M. this week as the Bulldogs look to capture the WAC Championship.
Fresno State opens up the WAC Tournament as the No. 3 seed and plays No. 6 seed Louisiana Tech on Wednesday at 6 p.m. PT.