Over the course of 40 years of coaching, I have had the opportunity to coach an amazing list of great players and great people. During a friendly discussion with my good friend, Hall of Famer, Scott Whitlock, we got into it about the best players each of us had coached. It was a fun discussion because over the course of our careers, we played against each other many times and we were both very familiar with each other’s list.
We agreed on several of the players we discussed for my All-Time Team, just as we agreed on some of his. What that conversation did do was prompt me to start to think about all those great players and the idea of assembling this list was born. I’ve named a player to each position on defense, two pitchers and a utility/DP player.
This was a very challenging process because I’ve coached a bunch of players that could and, maybe, should be included. It was a real walk down memory lane that brought back a bunch of great memories and some heartache too.
With a career spanning 40 years at Whitnall High School, UW-Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State, I have coached a lot of great players. Some of you will be surprised to see the breakdown of where these players played for me.
No offense is intended towards anyone left off this list. I’d also love to hear from anyone who thinks I have missed someone or left someone deserving off the list. This is a heck of a group!
Billi Jo Kapla
Billi Jo was a crucial contributor to our tremendous success at Parkside. She’s a great hitter who came up big in many big games. She also contributed greatly in the circle, she was a great student and is a UWP Hall of Fame member.
LeeAnne was a great all-around player who always came up big. She had tremendous power, and was a great run producer and a very good defensive player. She won a bunch of games for us in the circle and is now a TTU Athletic Hall of Fame member.
Jessie Johnson, UW Parkside
Jessie was the ultimate lead-off hitter. She hit for a high average and got on base all the time. Jessie was a rock-solid defensive player who could change the game with her glove. She even made ESPN’s Top 10 plays before the network paid attention to fastpitch softball.
Beth Boden, Tennessee Tech
She led the nation in homers during her junior year while playing a great shortstop. Beth was a very athletic player who was strong in all phases of the game. She was a major contributor to a team that dominated the Ohio Valley Conference for three years.
Jackie Aiken, UW Parkside
The best hitter I have ever seen. Set records that will stand forever. Led the nation in triples, home runs, RBI and total bases at different points of her career. Started off as a catcher but became a great defensive third baseman. Was National Player of the Year, several times an All American and is a UWP and GLVC Hall of Famer.
Lois Malczewski, Whitnall High School
The second best hitter I have ever seen. Came up huge in a bunch of big games and helped us build a powerhouse program. Was so strong behind the plate that teams almost never tested her.
Bonnie Bynum, Tennessee Tech
The all-time leader in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched at TTU and in the OVC. Was Female Athlete of the Year at TTU twice and once for the OVC during her career. She was a multiple-time All-Region selection and is in the TTU Athletic Hall of Fame. She’s now the head coach at Tennessee Tech.
Wendy Wolff, UW Parkside/Whitnall High School
I coached Wendy for a total of nine years (four years at WHS, five at UWP, redshirted one year). She was an all-state selection and multiple award winner in high school. All-time leader in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched at UWP. Several time All-American and GLVC Pitcher of the Year. Was a clutch performer who was instrumental in our success at both high school and UWP.
Stephanie Dallmann, Tennessee Tech
Great lead-off hitter who was the first of the great “Cheesehead” players to play for me at TTU. Not your prototypical lead-off hitter, Steph had great speed, good power and was a great player in big games. She’s a several-time All-OVC and All-Region selection and she’s a TTU Hall of Famer.
Natalie Rhodes, Kennesaw State
The most influential “small” player I ever coached. Great speed made her the consummate lead-off hitter. Consistently among the national leaders in batting average and triples. Played tremendous defense in spite of a serious shoulder injury that greatly limited her ability to throw. She was the best base runner I’ve ever coached.
Stephanie Fischer, Tennessee Tech.
My only Division I All-American, ever. Stephanie led the nation in home runs during her senior year. She played several different positions very well, but was a stalwart in right field. She always came up big in tough situations. Stephanie was OVC Player of the Year, All-Region and All-American. Stephanie was a key contributor to our great run during which we won the OVC three straight years and played in the NCAA tournament each of those years.
Great players who just missed the list:
UW Parkside: Tennessee Tech: Kennesaw State Whitnall High School:
Bobbi Jo Kapla Brandy Henry Megan Veringa Juli Kubacki
Kathy Kilsdonk Krystina Dobbs Missy Perkowski Carol Kielpinski
Nicki Durnin Jennifer Smith Morgan Sikes
Sherri Grosenick Katie Speiser Taylor Denton
Rachel Sielaff Ashley Potts. Logan Viers
Shelly Stroik Lori Bayless. Kara Chambers
Natalie Kruizenga Jennifer Markham Courtney Sutter
Coming soon: Coach Tory’s All-Opponent Team.
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.