Rams have sights on being mentally tough
Buchanan, Hutton, Nelson sign NLIs
CSU continues to rise under Head Coach Jen Fisher
CSU finishes 2014 with most wins since 2004, fifth-best winning percentage
Friday's suspended game to resume at 10 a.m. Saturday, regular-season finale moved up
Recognizing Colorado State's 78 graduating student-athletes from the 2013-14 academic year. Photos by Tom Waido.
Senior Day and the final game of the 2014 CSU softball season, the winningest in more than a decade. Photos by Dan Byers.
The Colorado State softball team sweeps Boise State with a 12-4 victory in six innings bringing the Rams' overall record to 18-9.
Photos of the CSU softball team playing Southern Utah and Dayton during the Colorado State Classic.
Photos of CSU softball on the second day of the Colorado State Classic against Dayton and Nebraska-Omaha.
Jen Fisher enters her fifth season at the helm of the Colorado State softball program in 2014, where she has guided her alma mater back to prominence in the Mountain West.
The 2010 NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year at Metro State, Fisher did not take long to add more hardware to her resume, earning Mountain West Coach of the Year honors in just her second season leading the Rams, in 2012. After tallying an 8-43 mark in her first season in Fort Collins, Fisher engineered one of the greatest single-season turnarounds in school history in Year 2, leading the Rams to a 29-22 mark during the 2012 campaign, including an 8-4 mark and a tie for second place in the Mountain West standings. The Rams again tied for second place in 2013 and were in contention for a conference title entering the final day of the regular season in 2014.
Now, Fisher has the Rams poised to take the next step back to the national spotlight, and 2014 was the first step.
CSU went 32-17 during Year 4 under Fisher, the team's third-consecutive winning season. The 32 victories were the most by a Rams team since 2004 and the .653 winning percentage was tied for the sixth-best in program history.
The Rams were dominant in all phases of the game, ranking third in program history for runs scored (294), fourth for batting average (.313) and fourth for fielding percentage (.964). The team won eight games in a row at one point, and finished the season 15-5 at Ram Field. Individually, senior Chelsea O'Connor led the nation and tied a CSU single-season RBI record. She was one of three players to earn NFCA All-Region honors.
A native of Fort Collins, Fisher attended Rocky Mountain High School, where she starred for the Lobos in softball, basketball and tennis, and was selected as the school's female athlete of the year as a senior in 1990. She followed her outstanding prep career by playing softball collegiately at Creighton for one season before transferring to Colorado School of Mines, where she played shortstop and was the Orediggers' team captain in 1994.
At the conclusion of her playing career, Fisher returned home to Fort Collins, enrolling at CSU, where her father, Wayne Schubert, has been a professor in the university's world-renowned atmospheric sciences program since 1973. Fisher completed her bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1997, while also earning her secondary teaching license. During that time, Fisher began to establish her coaching roots firmly within the community. From 1994-98, she coached the Fort Collins Buckaroos softball club, spending four seasons with the program. Fisher also spent three seasons as a developmental coach at Poudre High School before embarking on her collegiate coaching career at Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colo.
While at OJC (1999-2006), Fisher amassed an impressive record of 355-119 and won seven-consecutive Region IX championships and Coach of the Year awards. Fisher's Rattlers squads averaged more than 43 victories per season. She guided seven NJCAA All-Americans and mentored 13 more student-athletes to Academic All-America status.
Fisher left OJC to resurrect a Metro State program that was slated to resume competition in 2008 after being disbanded in 1990. Using her consistent approach to the game, Fisher's winning ways continued immediately as the head coach of the Roadrunners.
In three seasons at the NCAA Division II level, Fisher guided the program from infancy to 125 wins, while surrendering just 36 ballgames. Fisher wasted little time in putting the Roadrunners' program on the national map, as well.
In 2008, Metro State's first season of competition, Fisher posted a record of 32-18 (26-11 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference), laying the foundation for the next two seasons, which would feature back-to-back postseason appearances. The squad ranked first in the DII national standings for doubles (2.06 per game), first for home runs (1.58 per game), and second for slugging percentage (.573).
Metro State's 2009 squad went 40-12 (29-7 RMAC) behind the guidance of Fisher, the conference Coach of the Year. The team again ranked first in the national standings for home runs (1.88 per game) with a DII record-tying 98 total, and first for slugging percentage (.636). Fisher led the Roadrunners to the RMAC regular-season and tournament championships, earning an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
Just when the Roadrunners appeared to have reached the pinnacle of their success, Fisher took her squad to new heights. In 2010, the team took the nation by storm, posting a record of 53-6 (37-2 RMAC), earning back-to-back regular-season and tournament conference titles. The squad ranked first nationally for home runs (1.9 per game) for the third straight year with 112 total, breaking its own record from 2009. The Roadrunners also ranked first for slugging percentage (.610) for the second straight year and second for winning percentage (.898). Part of that team was Wheat Ridge, Colo., native Tara Mickelson, whom Fisher coached to a DII-leading 25-homer season. Fisher once again was named league Coach of the Year, and following a run to the NCAA Central Region title and a Women's College World Series berth, Fisher captured CaptainU National Coach of the Year honors while her staff was tabbed as the NFCA Central Region Coaching Staff of the Year.
While there were plenty of victories to go around, Fisher did more than just pile up wins at Metro State. Encouraging a strong academic base and civic involvement to help her players become winners on and off the diamond, Fisher established an off-the-field partnership with the Denver West High School softball team. The Roadrunners helped the girls with life skills, as well as academic and personal pressures. For their efforts, the Metro State squad received a community engagement award from the NCAA.
At least 10 individuals have received Academic All-Mountain West honors in each of Fisher's four seasons at CSU, including 11 in 2013-14, the most in program history. Previously, it took nine seasons to reach 41 total honors, the number Fisher's players have reached in four.
On the field, CSU players have earned 11 total All-Mountain West selections since 2012, the most in a three-year period since 2008-10. Included is Kacie McCarthy, the 2012 Mountain West Pitcher of the Year, and Ashlie Ortega, a 2013 Easton Fastpitch All-American - CSU's first since 2008. Three Rams earned NFCA All-Region honors in 2014 - the most recipients since 2004 - including freshman Haley Hutton, the sixth CSU freshman to earn all-region accolades.
Fisher was officially announced as the Rams' head coach on Aug. 20, 2010. She and her husband, Joe, a former CSU baseball player, have a son, Garrett Wayne, who turns 14 in October.
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