Now in her seventh year on the job, Laura Watten has brought a dynamic new energy to the Maryland softball program. The Terrapin mentor has transformed the culture surrounding the Maryland program and brought an exciting brand of softball to Robert E. Taylor Stadium, which culminated with the program's second appearance in NCAA Regionals in May 2010.
None of it should be surprising, though. Watten's way is the "can-do" way, and it is precisely the approach the coach has taken in her quest to drive Maryland's softball program to national prominence. Hired prior to the start of the 2005-06 academic year, Watten has worked extensively to elevate all aspects of the program in an effort to put the Terps in a position to succeed on a national scale.
In 2012, Watten and her staff helped lead the Terrapins to a 34-22 overall record, 10-8 finish in ACC play, and a third-straight NCAA Regionals appearance. The Terps won 14 of 16 games to end the regular season and earn their postseason bid. Three of the Terrapins' seniors - Vangie Galindo, Kendra Knight and Kathy McLaughlin - were named to the All-ACC Team. The trio - part of one of Watten's original recruiting classes - were consistent performers for the Terps. Watten and the Terrapins were sent to Seattle to take on 16th-seeded Washington, No. 23 Texas Tech and Ivy League champion Harvard.
The Terrapins followed their 2010 NCAA Regionals berth with a second Regionals berth as host. They finished the year with a 40-19 record, the most wins since 1999, and a 12-7 ACC record - the most conference wins in school history. Four Terrapins were named to the All-ACC Team and Kerry Hickey was named ACC Pitcher of the Year.
In 2010, Watten helped lead the Terrapins to their first NCAA Regionals appearance in over 10 years. Not only were the Terps playing in Regionals, but the NCAA came to College Park as Maryland hosted Regionals for the first time in school history. The stadium was filled with sellout crowds as Fordham, Syracuse and Oklahoma all made their way to campus.
The 2009 campaign saw Watten's Terps finish fourth in the ACC - their highest finish in her tenure. They earned a 9-11 record in conference play and racked up the most conference wins in a season under Watten.
The 2008 campaign saw Watten's Terps post the third-highest win total (36) in team history, including a school-record 16-game winning streak early in the season. Maryland used a blazing 19-1 start to achieve national rankings in both the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 and the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 polls for the first time since 1999.
In 2007, the Maryland program reaped the full benefits of Watten's recruiting efforts. Nine newcomers joined the team, including five transfers, and Maryland's lineup was transformed into an offensive juggernaut. The Terps shattered previous team records for home runs with 59 and stolen bases with 98 and set numerous individual records. Amber Jackson enjoyed the greatest offensive season in school history, setting new single-season records for batting average (.408), runs (61), home runs (24), RBIs (56) and walks (55). Jackson led the NCAA in home runs and was a first-team All-America selection by Easton.
During Watten's first season in College Park in 2006, the Terps improved their win total by four victories. Belak set a team-record with 70 hits to lead a rejuvenated offense.
Watten was fresh off leading Bethune-Cookman College to the 2005 NCAA Division I Super Regionals when she was tapped to lead the Terps' program. In guiding the Wildcats to a 49-win season, Watten garnered 2005 NFCA Southeast Region Coach of the Year honors.
During Watten's eight years at B-CC, the Wildcats made five NCAA Regional appearances and captured five conference titles. The four-time MEAC coach of the Year posted an eight-year mark of 322-207 and averaged more than 40 wins per season. She was inducted into the Bethune-Cookman Hall of Fame in Sept. 2012, along with Amber Jackson.
|Watten as a Head Coach Year-By-Year|
|2001||Bethune-Cookman||45-23||.662||15-1||.938||MEAC Champions/Coach of the Year|
|2002||Bethune-Cookman||40-24||.625||14-2||.875||MEAC Champions/Coach of the Year|
|2003||Bethune-Cookman||47-23||.671||18-0||1.000||MEAC Champions/Coach of the Year|
|2005||Bethune-Cookman||49-19||.720||16-0||1.000||MEAC Coach of the Year/Super Regionals|
|Record at Maryland (7 yrs.)||238-167||.588||3 NCAA Appearances (2-6)|
|Overall Record (15 yrs.)||560-374||.600||8 Appearances (10-19)|