Head Softball Coach
Lubbock Christian '85
Four Oklahoma All-State honorees will suit up for OSU in 2014.
OSU will play 24 games against teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season.
OSU's pitchers combined to allow just one hit in 10 innings.
Four-time All-American will handle the Cowgirl pitchers
In just a short five seasons, head coach Rich Wieligman returned Oklahoma State Cowgirl Softball back to elite status, leading OSU to its seventh Women's College World Series appearance in 2011. It is the defining moment in an impressive coaching career.
Entering his eigth season as the head softball coach at Oklahoma State University, now that he has returned the Cowgirl program to national prominence, Wieligman wants to maintain the status quo.
In 2011, Wieligman led the Cowgirls to the NCAA Tournament for the third-consecutive season, a feat that had not been accomplished since 1998 when OSU appeared in its 11th-straight NCAA Tournament. Oklahoma State went 40-22 and swept through the Knoxville Regional of the NCAA Tournament. After winning the Stillwater Super Regional two games to one over Houston, it was on to OKC. OSU finished eighth in both the NFCA Coaches poll and the USA Softball poll.
In 2010, the Cowgirls also achieved a 40-win season for the first time since `98. With its 44-16 record, Oklahoma State recorded its best season since 1994. Included in OSU's wins that year were two victories over 11th-ranked Oklahoma and a pair of wins over No. 4 Missouri in Columbia.
When Oklahoma State moved into the top 25 of the NFCA Coaches Poll during the first week of March of 2010, it was the first time OSU had been ranked in seven seasons. The Cowgirls were ranked as high as No. 7 in late April, OSU's highest ranking since a No. 4 national ranking in March of 1998.
In 2009, Wieligman returned the Cowgirls to the NCAA Tournament, a goal that OSU had achieved just twice since its Women's College World Series appearance in 1998. Oklahoma State advanced to the regional finals in Tallahassee, defeating 16th-ranked Florida State twice on their home field.
During the 2008 slate, the Cowgirls went 4-4 against ranked teams, including a 6-5 win over No. 4 Texas A&M late in the season. OSU swept 18th-ranked Baylor and also defeated No. 15 Washington.
Despite a losing record in his first year at the helm of the Cowgirls, Wieligman showed glimpses of what has already become commonplace at OSU under his direction. In just his ninth game as a head coach, the Cowgirls handed ninth-ranked UCLA an 8-1 loss at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas.
In all, 15 of OSU's 33 losses in his inaugural season were to teams ranked in the top 16 of the national polls.
Wieligman came to Oklahoma State after serving the previous four seasons as the hitting coordinator under Jo Evans at Texas A&M.
He spent a great deal of time in the Big 12's South Division, having also served as an assistant coach at Baylor and Texas Tech, but he really made a name for himself in College Station. His success with the Aggie softball program put his name at the top of the OSU coaching search, and after a conversation with Mike Candrea, the head coach for the Arizona Wildcats and the USA National Team, OSU athletic director Mike Holder knew who the next softball coach would be at Oklahoma State.
In Wieligman's first season at A&M in 2003, the Aggies slugged a school-record 55 home runs. He helped guide the Aggies to a .336 team batting average -- tops in the country -- in 2005. The Aggies went 47-10 during that season and were eliminated in the Super Regionals, a round shy of qualifying for the Women's College World Series.
Wieligman had a successful playing career, first in professional baseball and then fastpitch softball. He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as an undrafted free agent in 1985. The Kansas City, Mo., native reached as high as the Triple-A level in the Detroit Tigers organization.
Prior to his stint in the professional ranks, Wieligman was a successful collegiate player, garnering All-America status at Lubbock Christian in 1984. This came a year after he helped lead the Chaparrals to the NAIA National Championship in 1983.
Wieligman spent a year playing professionally in Japan, but quickly returned to the United States where he decided to pursue coaching. His coaching career began where his collegiate career ended, at Lubbock Christian. The Chaparrals reached the NAIA World Series in 1991, but Wieligman still had a desire to compete and turned to fastpitch softball.
He joined DR Engine based out of Odessa, Texas, and he was an instant star. DR Engine won national championships in 1995 and 1997, with Wieligman being named the MVP of the 1995 ASA National Tournament. He also earned ASA All-America status in 1997.
With his experience in both baseball and softball, Paula Young hired Wieligman at Baylor in 1999, where he served two years as an assistant coach. The Lady Bears went 57-55 in those two seasons before he returned to Lubbock.
Bobby Reeves brought Wieligman to Texas Tech for the 2001 season. The Red Raiders went 37-24 in his first season at the school and were selected for an NCAA regional.
He spent a second season at Tech before leaving for his third Big 12 destination at Texas A&M.
It was at Texas A&M where Wieligman began to surface as a coaching commodity. The Aggies had a winning record all four seasons he was there, and the Aggie offense set several school records under his guidance.
Wieligman was hired at Oklahoma State on June 16, 2006. He received his bachelor's degree in education business/physical education from Lubbock Christian in 1985.
Wieligman was born on Oct. 21, 1962. He is married to the former Jill Hodge. The couple has two children: a daughter, Ashby, a senior at Texas Tech; and a son, Ryan, a junior at Stillwater High.