Loyola-Chicago, Saint Louis and Western Michigan to participate
Illini earn 27 wins on season, including 400th in program history
Illinois downs Providence, 3-1; totals milestone victory over Boston U., 5-4
Illinois to face Florida Atlantic, New Mexico St., Seton Hall and UNLV
Sullivan uses nation-wide recruiting to add six to the Illinois softball family
Photos from the Softball Alumni Game on Sept. 29, 2012.
Donna DiBiase recently completed her 13th season with Illinois softball after being promoted to associate head coach in 2004. She has worked side-by-side with head coach Terri Sullivan in building Illinois into one of the top programs in the Big Ten Conference and nation-wide, helping Sullivan found the program in 2000.
DiBiase has organized recruiting and helped bring in some of the top student-athletes nationally during her tenure. She assists with all aspects of the Illinois program, and her primary duty on the field is working with the infield.
DiBiase has been with the Illini every step of the way, helping lead the Orange and Blue to four NCAA Tournament appearances and 37 wins over ranked opponents. Along with Sullivan, she has coached three All-Americans to four All-America honors and 38 All-Big Ten accolades.
"Donna has been my right hand since day one," Sullivan said. "She has played a major role in building our program from the ground up. Having been a Division I head coach before and having had great success with us here, Donna has the credentials to move on to another head job. Therefore, as a friend and colleague in the softball community, I am very excited that she remains highly committed to Illinois. Donna does an outstanding job from 'A' to 'Z' in helping to achieve our program's short and long-term goals."
From the very first recruiting class, DiBiase made an immediate impact on the softball world. As seniors in 2004, that group helped Illinois move to within just two wins of the Women's College World Series. The Illini posted a 45-21-1 record, placed second in the Big Ten, were runners-up in the Big Ten Tournament and reached the regional final of the NCAA Tournament. Illinois has also posted NCAA Tournament appearances in 2003, 2009 and 2010.
DiBiase graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 1993, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in kinesiology. A third baseman for the Flames, DiBiase served as a captain for two years and led UIC to the Women's College World Series in 1994.
DiBiase's work ethic as a player impressed Sullivan, who was an assistant at Illinois-Chicago at the time. Before coming to Illinois, DiBiase was the head coach at Loyola-Chicago for three years. She led the Ramblers' program to its best record in five years in 1999, while also finishing second in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference with an 8-4 league mark.
In 1995, DiBiase served as a graduate assistant coach at UIC, a year that saw the Flames post an impressive 51-16 overall mark. She also completed her Master of Science degree in kinesiology.
Prior to her years at Loyola, DiBiase was the head varsity softball coach at Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, Ill., guiding the Spartans to a 23-8 mark in 1996.
In high school, DiBiase was one of the premier players in Chicago's south suburbs, garnering all-area and all-state honors at Andrew High School in Tinley Park.
THE DIBIASE FILE
University of Illinois at Chicago, B.A. in Kinesiology, 1993
University of Illinois at Chicago, M.S. in Kinesiology, 1995
University of Illinois at Chicago, 1991-94
Andrew High School; Tinley Park, Ill., 1987-90
Graduate Assistant Coach, Illinios-Chicago, 1995
Head Coach, Marian Catholic High School, 1996
Head Coach, Loyola University Chicago, 1997-99
Assistant Coach, Illinois, 2000-03
Associate Head Coach, Illinois, 2004-present