HEAD COACH BRENT VIGNESS
The winningest coach in Creighton athletics history, Brent Vigness enters his 24th season at the helm of one of the most successful softball programs in the Midwest.
Vigness claimed his 700th win at Creighton with a 3-2 victory over South Dakota State on March 10, 2016 during his 1,203rd game as head man of the Bluejays.
After 20 seasons in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), Vigness led Creighton into its inaugural BIG EAST campaign in 2014. The Bluejays advanced to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Softball Championship in their first year in the league. Fittingly, Vigness reached the 800-win career mark in conjunction with theprogram’s first BIG EAST victory at Butler on March 22, 2014.
A four-time MVC Coach of the Year, he led the Bluejays to seven MVC regular-season titles (1998-2000, 2007-09, 2013), six Valley tournament titles (1999, 2003-05, 2007, 2010) and seven NCAA regional appearances (1999, 2003-05, 2007-08, 2010). He claimed MVC Coach of the Year honors in 1998 and guided the MVC Coaching Staffs of the Year in 2007, 2008 and 2013.
Vigness coached his 1,000th game at Creighton and recorded his 600th win at CU in 2012. He earned victory No. 600 at Creighton on April 21 in a 4-3 win against Evansville. A year prior, Vigness became the winningest coach in Creighton athletics history. The Bluejays’ 9-3 win at Iowa State on March 31, 2011 marked his 565th victory at Creighton, moving Vigness past CU Hall of Fame softball coach Mary Higgins for the most wins by any head coach in school history. His 859 career victories ranks 20th among active coaches in NCAA Division I softball.
The Bluejays captured more combined MVC regular-season and tournament titles than any other Valley program over their last 16 years in the MVC, with 12 titles in that span. In addition to the 2013 title, Vigness twice guided the Bluejays to three straight regular-season titles – from 1998 to 2000 and from 2007 to 2009.
From 1998-2013 the Bluejays captured seven regular-season Valley titles, won six MVC tournament crowns and appeared in nine MVC tournament championship games. The 2008 team set a school record with 21 conference victories, while the 2005 Creighton squad became just the second team in league history to win three consecutive tournament titles.
Vigness led Creighton to a 25-22 record during the 2016 season. Allie Reinhart earned her second consecutive All-BIG EAST Second Team selection, and joined Michelle Trulin on the all-conference second team, as the Bluejays had multiple outfielders named to the first or second-team all-conference for the first time since 2004.
He guided the Bluejays to a 22-21 record in 2015, Creighton’s second season in the BIG EAST Conference. Senior Liz Dike led the Jays with a .418 batting average and earned All-BIG EAST First Team honors.
In 2014 the Bluejays finished fourth in their inaugural season as a member of the BIG EAST Conference. CU concluded the year with an overall record of 29-24 and a conference mark of 10-10. The Bluejays finished conference play strong by reeling off four consecutive victories to earn a bid to the BIG EAST Softball Championship before top-seeded DePaul ended their NCAA tournament hopes by defeating the Bluejays.
Senior Becca Changstrom finished her outstanding four-year career second all-time in starts (115), appearances (133) and complete games (93) in Creighton history. She also ranked third in wins (74), strikeouts (860) and innings pitched (766). Changstrom was a four-time all-conference selection, including a 2014 All-BIG EAST First Team selection.
The Bluejays surprised some in the MVC by winning the regular-season title in 2013 after being picked fourth in the preseason poll. Despite earning a No. 1 seed, Creighton fell 1-0 to UNI in the MVC tournament semifinals after a game-opening leadoff home run proved to be the difference. Senior Amy Baker’s record-setting year and Changstrom’s strong showing in the circle led the Jays to a 29-18 overall record and 15-7 conference mark. Baker ended her prolific four-year Bluejay career as the Creighton and MVC career leader in home runs (58) as well as RBI (167). She started every game over her final three seasons. Baker reached base in 37 consecutive games in 2013, the most by any Bluejay since 1999. Changstrom attained MVC Pitcher of the Year honors after claiming the pitching triple crown with 13 wins, 133 strikeouts and a 1.34 ERA in conference play. She also claimed All-MVC First Team, MVC All-Tournament Team and NFCA All-Midwest Region Second Team honors after posting a 22-9 overall record, a career-high 254 strikeouts and 1.70 ERA on the year. Dike, as well as Blair Lowe and Ellen Homan, earned All-MVC selections for the Jays.
In 2012 Creighton jumped out to its second-best start in school history by winning its first seven games before playing five contests against ranked opponents over an eight-game span. The Bluejays finished the MVC regular season in fifth at 15-11 and bowed out of the conference tourney quarterfinals with a final record of 28-25-1.
A potent Bluejay offense scored at least 10 runs in a game 11 times and scored a school record of 294 runs. CU led the MVC with a .292 batting average, 56 homers, 275 RBI and a .464 slugging percentage. Alexis Cantu led the MVC with 17 homers, 46 walks, a .547 on-base percentage and a .802 slugging percentage. She set league records with 13 homers and 34 RBI duringconference action.
After the loss of two Easton All-Americans in 2010 -- seniors Tara Oltman and Renae Sinkler -- 2011 was a rebuilding year for Creighton. The Bluejays returned just three starters and added 11 freshmen to the roster. The team finished in sixth place at 12-12 in the MVC and posted a 25-28 overall record. Baker hit a league-leading 18 homers and paced the team with 33 RBI. Homan became the first freshman to lead Creighton in hitting since 1989 with 52 hits, 15 multi-hit games, 25 runs scored and a .308 average.
The 2010 Bluejays overcame a 2-5 MVC start to finish 18-7 in league play and sweep through the MVC Tournament for their sixth Valley postseason crown under Vigness. Led by two-time MVC Player of the Year and NFCA All-American Sinkler’s school and MVC record 24 home runs, the team set a school record with 66 homers. Three-time Easton All-American pitcher Oltman ended her record-setting career by becoming the first student-athlete in school history to earn first-team all-conference honors four times. She also set a single-season school record with 32 wins. Vigness logged career win No. 700 in a victory over Southern Illinois on May 14 during the Bluejays’ 2010 MVC tournament title run. The Jays dropped a pair of 3-2 contests to host No. 8 Missouri and DePaul at the NCAA Regional in Columbia, Mo., to end the season.
Creighton clinched its third consecutive regular-season title in 2009. The Bluejays finished at 35-16 overall and ranked ninth in the nation with a school-record .975 fielding percentage. Despite an impressive résumé, including being the first visiting team to shut out Arizona on its home field since 2005, and a no-hitter against nationally ranked Southern Illinois, the Bluejays were left out of the NCAA Tournament after losing the MVC Championship game. Oltman became the first three-time MVC Pitcher of the Year and the first NFCA All-American under Vigness’ watch. Vigness captured his 500th Bluejay victory with a win over Bradley on April 4, 2009.
In 2008 the Bluejays posted their fourth 40-win season in a five-year span, finishing with a 43-17 overall mark and 21-3 Valley record to claim another regular-season crown. Creighton’s 19-2 home record included an unblemished 12-0 mark in league play and marked the most home wins by the Bluejays since 1989. After earning an at-large NCAA bid, the Jays suffered two 2-1 eight-inning losses to No. 18 Long Beach State and host Iowa at the NCAA Regional in Iowa City. Highlights included a win at two-time defending NCAA champion No. 7 Arizona and Sinkler’s selection as USA Softball’s National Player of the Week on April 14.
The 2007 Bluejays rebounded from a disappointing 2006 campaign by tearing through the MVC for their first regular-season title since 2000. Oltman and Amanda Hess anchored a staff that ranked No. 20 in the NCAA with a 1.76 ERA. The Jays dominated the MVC Tournament, toppling nationally ranked Southern Illinois in the title game to capture their fourth postseason title and NCAA bid in a five-year span. Creighton eliminated NCAA Regional host Nebraska with a 2-1 victory in Lincoln before bowing out of the tournament.
Vigness led the Bluejays to three straight MVC Tournament titles and NCAA Regional appearances from 2003-05. He captured his first postseason NCAA victory and the Jays’ first since 1989 with a 3-1 win over Florida International at the 2003 NCAA Regional in Lincoln.
Vigness was tabbed the MVC Coach of the Year in 1998, after capturing the first of three straight MVC regular-season crowns with a 16-2 mark in Valley play. After claiming the 1999 MVC tournament title Vigness led Creighton to its first NCAA tournament appearance in nine seasons as CU Hall of Fame player Heidi Geier earned Easton Second Team All-America honors. The following year Vigness coached CU to a share of the 2000 regular-season title.
Vigness arrived in Omaha after leading Division II Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., to a 148-71-1 (.675) mark between 1989 and 1993. Vigness left as the winningest coach in Assumption College history. He guided the Lady Hounds to three consecutive 30-win seasons. The 37 victories posted by his 1990 Assumption College squad is the second-best single-season mark in school history. In 1992, Vigness became the youngest coach in the school’s history to amass 100 wins.
He was named the Northeast 10 Conference “Coach of the Year” in both 1989 and 1991 after leading the Lady Hounds to the league regular-season title. Vigness’ 1992 Assumption squad led all Division II teams in batting average - hitting an amazing .370 for the season. In his first season at Assumption of 1989 Vigness was hired as head softball coach, assistant women’s basketball coach and women’s trainer before dropping the latter two positions to concentrate solely on softball.
From 1986 to 1988 Vigness served as a student assistant softball coach at Central College in Pella, Iowa, where he graduated in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and recreation. Central College reached the Division III national quarterfinals in each of Vigness’ three seasons there, finishing as the national runner-up in 1986 and national champion in 1988.
A two-year letterwinner in football at Central College, Vigness lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track at Nesco High School in Zearing, Iowa. As a senior, he was the captain of both the football and basketball teams and earned all-conference honors in both football and baseball. Vigness and his wife, Cris, have three sons: Brady, Boyd and Bryce.