MINNEAPOLIS – Duluth native Jamie Trachsel was named the sixth head coach of Minnesota softball for the program’s 43rd season, and she would have it no other way.
“Minnesota is the only place I would have left [Iowa State] for, but this is home,” said Trachsel recently. “Coming here and being able to be a part of this program – I am proud, humbled and honestly grateful.”
Her move to the Big Ten did not just happen overnight, but through years of hard work and dedication as a student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach.
Beginning her collegiate softball career as a student-athlete at NCAA Division II St. Cloud State, she served as a standout player for the Huskies from 1998 to 2001. A Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference champion, Trachsel reflected on what she loved most about playing in the NSIC.
“The rivalries of that conference and my teammates that I still stay in contact with,” she said. “That conference was as strong, and could at least rival the Division I schools. There were multiple All-American pitchers that were in our Division II conference that were just as good as schools in our area.”
Following her playing career, Trachsel faced a great challenge in her coaching career. She helped build a Division II power house into a competitive Division I program at North Dakota State University.
“I professionally and personally grew up at North Dakota State,” she said. “We transitioned from a Division II program to a Division I, so we had to sit out for five years, we worked really hard during that transition period and at another level to prove ourselves. We went to Super Regionals our first year we were postseason eligible and made postseason play seven of the eight years.”
Building on her success, the opportunity to coach in a Power Five conference arose in a head coaching job at Iowa State. Her transition to Iowa State was not an easy choice, but became part of her process to build a top 20 program. While with the Cyclones, Trachsel helped Iowa State softball reach its best finish in the Big 12 since 1994.
“Everyone was asking, ‘What do you want out of your career?’ I didn’t really know, but it made me start thinking, the only reason to leave the place where I was happy was to try and go build a top 20 program,” she explained. “From my experience there, seeing Minnesota and Michigan, you can build a top program in the north, because people build programs. I didn’t know anything about Iowa State before they called. I did my research about the region and the administration was great. I took the opportunity and left a place I loved a lot. I went to Iowa State and started to build that program.”
Building a top 20 program was her goal, but the opportunity to come to Minnesota and win championships was even better.
“To come and be able to coach a program that is primed to win championships right now, which is what they have been doing the last couple years, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Trachsel said.
When asked where she loves to go in her home state during free time Trachsel had one place in mind.
“Honestly, family and home,” Trachsel said with a smile. “It might sound cliché, but in our world you don’t have a lot of free time. I think it Minneapolis is a great city and there are so many things to do. I am looking forward to being in a place where I want my professional and personal life to merge because it feels like the right fit.”
The expectations have not changed with a new face at the head of Gopher softball. The goal of getting to Oklahoma City remains the same for Trachsel, her staff and student-athletes.
“The expectation is to win championships. Rankings are rankings, records are records and ultimately it is about winning championships,” the head coach explained. “When you talk to the players, they will answer that question by saying they want to get to the World Series. That is the goal, the driving force, the hunger and the desire of everyone that is going to be associated with this program. At the end of the season, I can ensure you that there are going to be no excuses and no regrets. We will put our best foot forward, but our aspirations are to be playing in June on the grandest stage which is in Oklahoma City.”
Coming off a record-breaking year there are a lot of things to be excited about, but Coach Trachsel had one message for Gopher softball fans.
“Be excited about this program and these players. The things that people are excited about are still in place because of the players that wear the uniforms. Come out and support them because I think it’s going to be a blast to be a part of an unbelievable ride and journey with these kids.”
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