By Anna Kayser
On June 8, Iowa softball took a step forward, naming Renee Gillispie as the head coach and successor of Marla Looper.
Gillispie spent 18 years at Central Florida before returning to her native Iowa. In Florida, she recorded a .608 winning percentage with five conference championships and seven NCAA regional appearances.
As an athlete, Gillispie was familiar with the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area. She played softball at Kirkwood before attending West Texas A&M to finish her college career.
Iowa softball had been on a downward trend during the reign of previous head coach Looper, who resigned in May prior to her contract’s expiration.
The Hawkeye program stumbled into a 21-32 record, including dropping 10-straight near the end of last season. The Hawkeyes were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, losing to Northwestern in 8 innings.
“Having the opportunity to take over this program and return it to the championship culture it once had excites me,” Gillispie said in a release. “There is a rich tradition of talent in the state of Iowa. Being one of those players, I know how special it was to have the University of Iowa show interest in you. For me, it is being able to recruit these players and get them excited about Iowa, competing for Big Ten championships and the ultimate goal of returning to the World Series.”