LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced its Coaching Staffs of the Year on Monday and Salisbury University's softball coaching staff, piloted by 18th-year Head Coach Margie Knight, was named the Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year.
The 2013 award marks the seventh for the Salisbury coaching staff in program history. Knight and her staff, made of Tom Stitcher, Jess Stoltz, Terri Sharpless, John Krahling and Nicole McClaskey, led the Sea Gulls to a 42-4 record this season, and reached the program's seventh World Series.
Salisbury won 11 games to open the season, including Knight's 1,000th career win (combining her volleyball and softball wins) and later Knight's 600th career softball victory.
After back-to-back setbacks, the Sea Gulls rolled off 21 wins in a row to close out the regular season before cruising through the Capital Athletic Conference tournament with three wins and went undefeated through the Salem, Va., NCAA regional.
One of the most dramatic moments of the season game when Salisbury's regional game against Christopher Newport University was suspended in the eighth inning, tied 3-3. Senior catcher Michelle Gravdahl faced a 2-and-2 count with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth when the game was suspended due to rain. The teams would come back the next morning and Gravdahl did not hesitate, drilling the first pitch she saw for a grand slam and a 7-3 lead, the final score by which Salisbury would win.
The win not only lengthened Salisbury's winning streak to 26 games, but was the 700th career coaching win at Salisbury for Stitcher, who began his coaching with the Sea Gulls in 1992.
Salisbury took a loss in its first game at the World Series, but would come back with three wins, before being eliminated late in the tournament.
The Sea Gulls were ranked No. 1 in the nation for the final two regular-season polls by the NFCA and, following the World Series, finished the year as the No. 2 ranked team in the Division III.