UCLA Bruins softball
|University||University of California, Los Angeles|
|Head coach||Kelly Inouye-Perez (12th season)|
|Location||Los Angeles, CA|
|Home stadium||Easton Stadium (Capacity: 1,328)|
|Colors||Blue and Gold|
|NCAA Tournament champions|
|1982, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1995*, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2010|
|AIAW Tournament champions|
|NCAA WCWS appearances|
|1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995*, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|AIAW WCWS appearances|
|1978, 1979, 1981|
|NCAA Tournament appearances|
|1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995*, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|SCWIAC: 1975, 1976|
WCAA: 1983, 1984
Pac-10: 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2009
*vacated by NCAA
The UCLA Bruins softball team represents the University of California, Los Angeles in NCAA Division I softball. The Bruins are among the most decorated programs in NCAA softball, leading all schools in NCAA championships with 11, overall WCWS championships with 12, championship game appearances with 21, Women's College World Series appearances with 28, and NCAA Tournament wins with 187.
Sharron Backus era
Judith Holland, UCLA senior associate athletic director, hired Sharon Backus as a part-time coach upon the program's founding in 1975. Holland recalled, "I had seen her play, and she was probably one of the best shortstops who ever played the game." Backus was a physical education teacher at a high school in Anaheim, California when she was hired by UCLA and kept her teaching job for the first couple years after being hired at UCLA. Backus taught in Anaheim in the mornings and drove to UCLA for practice and games in the afternoon. Holland recalled that UCLA paid Backus about $1,500 year as a part-time coach, "and I don't think the money even paid for her gas."
In Backus's first three years at UCLA, the team struggled. Between 1975 and 1977, UCLA compiled a record of 44–20. In the formative years of the program, the Bruins played at city parks, where they were "often bumped from fields by recreational softball leagues." Backus moved her team to the UCLA intramural field, but it was not until 1980 that her team got its own field.
In 1978, the Bruins won their first AIAW national softball championship with a 31–3 record. After women's softball became an NCAA sport in 1982, Backus's teams won six of the first nine NCAA softball tournaments. In all, Backus led UCLA to eight NCAA tournament championships (in addition to the 1978 pre-NCAA championship) in 1982 (33–7–2), 1984 (45–6–1), 1985 (41–9), 1988 (53–8), 1989 (48–4), 1990 (62–7), 1992 (54–2), and 1995 (50–6).
From 1988 to 1990, the Bruins won three consecutive NCAA championships and compiled a record of 163–19. Backus's success led the Los Angeles Times in 1990 to compare Backus to UCLA's legendary basketball coach John Wooden:
"When you talk about UCLA dynasties, you start with John Wooden, who coached the men's basketball team to 10 NCAA titles. But Backus has built a dynasty of her own. ... In total, the Bruins have won seven national titles, finished second twice and third twice in Backus' 15 seasons."
Commenting on the pressure and anxiety fostered by success, Backus noted, "John Wooden once said that he wished one national championship to his best friends, but four to his enemies."
In December 1995, the UCLA women's softball program was placed on probation after an investigation revealed that UCLA had awarded more scholarships than were permitted under NCAA rules. The Fresno Bee wrote that the penalties "bring shame to college softball and added, "The image of UCLA's softball program won't ever be the same. The Bruins got caught. ... For two seasons, they went over the scholarship limit, the equivalent of cheating on taxes. Now they must pay."
Amid an NCAA probe prompted by a Los Angeles Times investigation into UCLA pitcher Tanya Harding, Backus announced her retirement in January 1997 after 21 years as the team's head coach. Backus compiled a record of 847 wins, 167 losses and 3 ties at UCLA. At the time of her retirement, she was "the winningest college softball coach" in the history of the sport. Backus told the press when she retired, "I've had a great career at UCLA, but it's time for a change. My primary reason for stepping down has to do with the illness and death of my mother in early October. That, plus the ongoing NCAA probe of the softball program have created a level of stress that I feel is best to put behind me at this time."
Sue Enquist era
In 1989, Sue Enquist was appointed co-head coach with Backus, a position they shared through the 1996 season. Enquist played softball at UCLA under Sharron Backus from 1975 to 1978. She helped lead UCLA to its first national softball championship in 1978 and became UCLA's first All-American softball player. Her career batting average of .401 was the UCLA team record for 24 years. Prior to becoming co-head coach, she was an assistant coach under Backus from 1980 to 1988.
Following Backus's retirement, Enquist became the sole head coach at UCLA in 1997, a position she held for ten years from 1997 to 2006. Enquist retired from UCLA in 2006. In 18 years as the co-head coach and sole head coach at UCLA, Enquist compiled a record of 887–175–1. Her career winning percentage of .835 is the highest recorded by any of the college softball coaches with 800 career wins. During her years as a player and coach at UCLA, the Bruins softball team won 11 national championships in 1978, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1999, 2003 and 2004.
|Sharron Backus & Sue Enquist||1989–1996||403||56||0||.878|
|1975||Sharron Backus||14–6||9–0||SCWIAC Champions|
|1978||31–13||—||AIAW National Champions|
|1979||24–9||—||AIAW College World Series (Runner-up)|
|1981||38–10||10–5||AIAW College World Series (3rd place)|
|1983||40–7||17–3||Women's College World Series (3rd Place)|
|1987||Sharron Backus||50–10||7–3||Women's College World Series (Runner-up)|
|1991||56–7||16–4||Women's College World Series (Runner-up)|
|1993||50–5||25–1||Women's College World Series (Runner-up)|
|1994||43–14||16–6||Women's College World Series (Runner-up)|
|1995||43–6||23–4||Women's College World Series (Runner-up)|
|1996||47–11||20–7||Women's College World Series (3rd Place)|
|1997||Sue Enquist||49–14||21–7||Women's College World Series (Runner-up)|
|2000||46–12–1||14–7||Women's College World Series (Runner-up)|
|2001||62–6||16–5||Women's College World Series (Runner-up)|
|2002||55–9||18–3||Women's College World Series (5th Place)|
|2005||40–20||11–10||Women's College World Series (Runner-up)|
|2006||50–9||15–5||Women's College World Series (4th Place)|
|2007||Kelly Inouye-Perez||37–18||12–9||NCAA Regional|
|2008||51–9||17–4||Women's College World Series (5th Place)|
|2009||45–11||16–5||NCAA Super Regional|
|2012||Kelly Inouye-Perez||36–20||12–12||NCAA Regional|
|2014||52–8||19–5||NCAA Super Regional|
|2015||51-12||19-5||Women's College World Series (5th Place)|
|2016||40-16-1||16-5-1||Women's College World Series(8th Place)|
|2017||48-15||16-8||Women's College World Series(6th Place)|
|2018||55-5||20-4||Women's College World Series(TBD)|
- "UCLA Athletics Brand Guidelines" (PDF). June 29, 2017. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
- Plummer, William; Floyd, Larry C. (2013). A Series Of Their Own: History Of The Women's College World Series. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States: Turnkey Communications Inc. ISBN 978-0-9893007-0-4.
- "2014 Women's College World Series Record Book" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- Ray Ripton (1991-02-07). "Bruins Try to Continue Domination in Softball Colleges: Three-time defending NCAA champions have plenty of pitching and hitting talent". Los Angeles Times.
- Chris Baker (1990-06-12). "Another UCLA Dynasty Takes Shape Softball: Bruins have won three NCAA titles in a row and six of nine overall under Coach Sharron Backus". Los Angeles Times.
- "Division I Softball Champions". NCAA. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- Ray Ripton (1989-06-04). "Keeping a Dynasty Going Isn't All Fun, UCLA Softball Coach Learns". Los Angeles Times.
- Ron Orozco (1995-12-16). "Dale unfazed by UCLA's probation". The Fresno Bee.
- "UCLA Softball Coach Backus Resigns During Investigation". Los Angeles Times. 1997-01-07.
- "BACKUS STEPS DOWN AS BRUINS COACH". Daily News (Los Angeles). 1997-01-07.
- Judi Garman passed Backus as the sport's winningest coach in 1998.
- "UCLA Women Win Series". Schenectady Gazette. May 29, 1978.
- "Sue Enquist Profile". UCLA. Archived from the original on 2012-12-09.
- "Acclaimed UCLA softball coach Enquist to retire". ESPN.com. September 26, 2006.
- Ben Bolch (September 27, 2006). "Veteran UCLA Softball Coach Enquist to Retire". Los Angeles Times.
- "NCAA Career Statistics". NCAA. Retrieved 2010-06-21.
- "NCAA Softball Coaching Records" (PDF). NCAA. 2011.