ASHLAND, Ore. — When the Raiders return to the softball diamond next spring, their title defense will begin again, and once again Jessica Pistole will be at the helm.
The Raiders athletic department announced in a press release Sunday night that the head coach who led the team to a National Championship in 2019 will be returning for the 2021 season.
"SOU and Ashland are home to our family," Pistole said in the press release.
Since Pistole's departure was announced at the end of July, assistant coach Mike Mayben has been leading the Raiders team. As the head coach, Mayben kept the Raiders ranked first in the NAIA and the team was 23-3 before the coronavirus pandemic ended the season early.
"As pleased as we are to have our national championship-winning coach Jessica Pistole back with SOU, we are equally grateful to coach Mike Mayben for his stewardship of the program in her stead," SOU Athletic Director Matt Sayre said in the press release. "He is a great coach, and to have his 1-- percent buy-in on Jess' return - and commitment to remain with the program as one of her assistant coaches - is a huge testament to his character and selflessness."
Pistole will enter her sixth season as the Raiders head coach. In her SOU coaching career, Pistole has a 219-82 record. At that mark, she is the winningest head coach in program history. She has also accrued a number of accolades while leading the Raiders to three Cascade Conference regular-season championships and tournament titles. Pistole was named the inaugural CCC Coach of Character in the same year the team won the National Championship.
According to SOU's press release, Pistole was offered the position in March, but the school went on a hiring freeze at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic delaying "the announcement until now."
At USD, Pistole's team went 15-12 before their season was cut short due to the pandemic.