Malcolm Butler, Louisiana Tech Associate Athletic Director/Communications
RUSTON — Louisiana Tech Director of Athletics Tommy McClelland introduced Maria Winn-Ratliff as the sixth head coach in the history of the Lady Techster softball program Monday.
“Maria has been a proven winner over her head coaching career,” said McClelland. “She has a track record of recruiting student-athletes who are successful on the field and in the classroom. As we searched for our next head coach, we focused on finding someone who we could entrust the future of this program and of our student-athletes.
“Despite the timing of this head coaching transition, we had a lot of interest from coaches across the country. Our softball program has grown into being one of the top programs in the country, and we are excited that Maria will lead us into the future.”
Winn-Ratliff comes to Ruston after a three-year stint at Tyler Junior College and a 12-year tenure at Western Nebraska Community College. She amassed 699 wins and eight appearances in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship Tournament.
Her teams have won 40-plus games each of the last 12 years and 50-plus games each of the last seven seasons while posting an overall mark of 699-260 during those 15 seasons.
“I would like to thank President Les Guice and Athletics Director Tommy McClelland as well as Mary Kay Hungate, Malcolm Butler and Mark Wagner for helping me through this process and having the confidence in me to be the leader of the Louisiana Tech softball program,” said Winn-Ratliff. “I’m extremely excited to be a part of the LA Tech Family and the opportunity to work with the incredible athletic department staff.
“I can’t wait to get on campus and continue to build on the tradition and tremendous success that has been occurring with this Lady Techster softball program the last few years. Having worked camps and clinics at LA Tech during my time in this region, I know the program very well and am beyond grateful for the opportunity to lead such outstanding young women.”
Winn-Ratliff, who coached current Tech assistant coach Bianca Duran during her days at Western Nebraska, posted a record of 164-42 during her three years at Tyler Junior College – a program that produced 2019 Conference USA Player of the Year Jazlyn Crowder. All three teams were nationally-ranked and advanced to the NJCAA National Tournament.
“Maria is one of the most well-respected coaches in our game,” said Mike Bosch, pitching coach at the University of Florida. “When people speak of her, you hear terms like integrity, work ethic and high-level communication skills. She is a winner and Louisiana Tech is getting a star coach and person.”
The success at Tyler Junior College prompted Winn-Ratfliff and her staff to be named the Region 14 Coaching Staff of the Year in 2017 and the NFCA Region Coaching Staff of the Year in 2019.
“Texas Glory is excited about the hire,” said Kevin Shelton, whose travel ball organization has produced the likes of Morgan Turkoly, PresleeGallaway and Jazlyn Crowder. “We have a long running mutually beneficial relationship with Maria during her time at Tyler. She is easy to work with and a straight shooter. We have been impressed with her. She knows how to recruit the DFW area. We look forward to continuing our more than decade long relationships with Louisiana Tech softball as she takes the helm.”
Her ability to recruit and develop talent is evidenced by the fact she has coached 21 all-conference players, 14 all-region players, 5 NFCA All-Americans and 6 NJCAA All-Americans during her three years at Tyler.
“Maria is one of the top recruiters and talent evaluators in the United States,” said Dave King, chairman of Triple Crown Sports. “Her ability to find, develop, and accelerate the future of her players has created a winning formula wherever she has gone. Louisiana Tech is fortunate.”
During her 12 years at Western Nebraska, Winn-Ratliff posted a record of 535-218, including 11 straight winning seasons – nine with 40 or more wins. She received the Region IX Outstanding Coach of the Year Award in 2005, 2007, 2008 (voted on by other coaches) and the Region IX Coach of the Year in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
“Maria is a good person who cares about her players success on and off the field,” said Marty McDaniel, University of Tennessee pitching coach. “She is a great recruiter and a student of the game. She has been successful wherever she has been. This is a great opportunity for her and her career. I know she will succeed.”
She coached 64 all-Region IX players, including six Freshmen of the Year and seven Players of the Year. She also coached 16 NFCA all-Americans at Western Nebraska.
Winn-Ratliff spent time as an assistant coach at Central Methodist University (2003-04), Armstrong Atlantic State University (2000-02) and Bemidji State University (1999-2000).
She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Columbia College in 1997. She also earned two masters degrees; in public health from Armstrong Atlantic State in 2002 and in education from Central Methodist University in 2005.