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Lamar names Holly Bruder as softball coach

Holly Bruder, a coach who has established a reputation for building fledgling softball programs, was named the head softball coach at Lamar University, Interim Director of Athletics Jason Henderson announced today.

Holly BruderLamar, which had softball from 1983 to 1987, is reviving its softball program starting with the 2013 season.

“I’ve always been interested in helping programs grow,” said Bruder, who was the head coach at Denison University for six seasons and Morehead State for the past four seasons before accepting the Lamar position. “The next step is starting your own program. You get to put your name on it.”

Bruder was 145-105 in her six seasons at Denison, winning four North Coast Athletic Conference regular-season titles and qualifying for the NCAA Division III Tournament on three occasions.

“We are very excited to have Holly join our staff,” Henderson said.  “After going through a national search we believe that we have found the ideal candidate to lead our women’s softball program.  Holly has been successful at each of her previous schools and we feel that she will continue to have success here at Lamar.
“Holly brings great enthusiasm and drive as we begin this process of returning to the field in the 2013 season.”

At Morehead State, she went 115-96, leading the Eagles to a second-place finish in the Ohio Valley Conference in 2008, the school’s best finish ever, and third-place finishes in 2009 and 2010. She set a school record with 34 wins in 2008 before breaking it with 35 victories in 2009. Prior to her arrival, Morehead State had losing records in eight consecutive seasons and 13 of its previous 14 seasons.

“Morehead was a huge challenge for a number of factors,” Bruder said. “I’m very proud of what I accomplished there.”

Last season, Morehead State went 19-36, just Bruder’s second sub-.500 season as a coach.

“I can forgive myself for having a losing season, but I can’t forget,” she said. “That’s what motivates me.”

While Lamar won’t play its first game until 2013, Bruder will have plenty of duties to keep her busy. She will be on the high school and junior college recruiting trails as well as seeing to a myriad of other responsibilities that go with building a program from the ground floor.

“It will be strange not coaching any games this coming spring,” she admitted. “I’m a competitor and I love to win. But I love to recruit, and I am looking forward to getting started.”

Bruder has already started her homework on the Southland Conference.

“It’s a very challenging conference,” she said. “There are a number of good pitchers, and the players are quick. I think that if you work hard, you can compete.”

Bruder began her coaching career at Albion College in Michigan in 1999 and 2000 where she was an assistant coach. In her short time there, she helped transform a downtrodden program into a contender, guiding the team into the conference tournament for the first time in three decades. From there, she spent one season as assistant softball coach and head women's tennis coach at Bluffton College in 2001, where her twin sister Heather is the current head softball coach. She helped Bluffton to the league's best record and the top spot in the tournament.

After a stellar prep career at Rogers City (Mich.) High School, Bruder was a four-year letterwinner and standout softball and soccer player at Alma College. She helped Alma win three conference titles and advance to the Division III College World Series in 1999, where her squad took third place nationally. She was named Second-Team All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1999.

Among her other activities, Bruder coaches the USA Athletes softball teams, where she has had the opportunity to travel to Germany, Aruba and Australia as an ambassador for the game. She is also an ASA and NSA certified umpire and was on the Central Region All-America Committee from 2003-2006.