MINNEAPOLIS - The woman credited with turning around the Gopher Women's Softball program almost single-handedly is leaving just months after leading the club to a top national ranking and NCAA Tournament berth.
The University of Minnesota announced on its website that Jessica Allister has accepted the job as head coach of the Stanford Cardinal, her alma mater. Gopher Athletic Director Mark Coyle says the University attempted several times to lock Allister up with a contract extention to make her one of the highest-paid coaches in the Big Ten.
“I’m sad to see her go, but I am happy for her," Coyle said in a released statement. "She earned the opportunity to coach at her alma mater. I know that’s always been a dream of hers.”
Allister was at the helm for the most successful four-year stretch in program history. It began with the Gophers first-ever NCAA Super Regional appearance ever in 2014 and ended with last year's 56-win season, leading to a national number one ranking. Allister was named Big Ten Coach of the Year. She's coached a number of All-Americans at Minnesota, including two Big Ten Players of the Year and two Big Ten Pitchers of the Year.
Now that she is departing for her dream job, the task facing Coyle is to find a replacement that can build on the success that Allister achieved. “We will immediately begin a national search for our next head softball coach. The hard work of Jessica, her staff, and our student-athletes over the past seven years has rebuilt Minnesota into one of the country’s top programs," Coyle asserts. "That success on the field, coupled with our continued investment in facilities, makes this a very attractive job. I’m confident we will hire a great coach to lead our program going forward.”
Allister is Stanford's record holder in games played (266), and as a four-year starting catcher led the Cardinal to a pair of College World Series. She also served as an assistant for Stanford from 2007 to 2009.