MOUNT VERNON, Iowa — Central College’s George Wares became just the second NCAA Division III softball coach to rack up 900 career victories with a 10-2 (5 inn.), 4-3 sweep at Cornell College Wednesday.
Wares pushed his record to 901-299-3 in his 27 seasons. He needs just six more wins to become the winningest coach in Division III history, surpassing the late Donna Newberry of Muskingum (Ohio), who compiled a 906-419-1 mark throughout 36 seasons. Wares has piloted the Dutch to four national titles and 22 NCAA tournament berths, but he said he sees faces more than trophies as he thinks back over his memorable career.
The Dutch, rated No. 5 in the NFCA Division III Coaches Poll and No. 2 in the NCAA Division III Midwest Region, are 31-5 overall and 12-2 in Iowa Conference play.
Wares said he gave little thought of his coaching milestone until after the game was in the books and Central fans noisily flashed “900” signs from behind the backstop.
“I was so into trying to get two wins to help our chances for a conference championship and a bye in the league tournament,” he said.
Wares said there are many who share credit for the achievement.
“It was special,” he said. “It’s a bit of a relief to get it out of the way. The players were excited about it and it’s nice for the coaching staff as well.”
“We’ve had a lot of great players and some phenomenal assistant coaches, including an outstanding coaching staff on this year’s team,” he said. “It would have been nice to get it at home Saturday when we had a lot of alumni back, but I’m sure they were keeping close track tonight.”
Central, which shares the league lead with Luther College, goes for a share of the conference title Saturday with a 2 p.m. doubleheader at the University of Dubuque. The Dutch have won or shared 10 league crowns, most recently in 2009.