Head Coach - 7th Season
Head Coach Steve Babinski (460-240 .657%) became the second softball coach in Indiana Wesleyan history when he succeeded Sue Bowman who was coach for 24 years (1988-2011) and built a 585-407(.590%) record. Babinski enters his 7th season at the helm of the Wildcat Softball Program for the 2017-18 year. His teams are averaging 35.4 wins a year in his 13 years. IWU under coach Babinski have averaged 40 wins a season with 4 40+ win seasons.
On Coach Babinski's hire 6 years ago, "We are ecstatic to have Steve join our IWU athletic family," said Indiana Wesleyan athletic director Mark DeMichael. "Through the process of a national search, Steve rose to the top of high quality candidates. His passion for combining high level coaching with ministry to his student-athletes really separated him from our other candidates. It makes him a perfect fit for our athletic department mission."
In his first season here at Indiana Wesleyan, Coach Babinski hit the ground running as his squad broke the old win record (39) by going 45-13. They finished second in the MCC after being preseason picked fourth in the preseason poll. IWU broke team records in stolen bases (136), runs (341), hits (521), and RBIs (291). IWU advanced to the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in program history. Indiana Wesleyan ended their season fittingly by upsetting No. 20 Central Methodist (Mo.) to capture their 45th win and first win at the NAIA National Tournament in program history.
Babinski's second season saw the Wildcats advance to the NCCAA National Championship after winning the Regionals hosted in Warsaw, Indiana. With a tougher regular season schedule they finished 28-20 and graduated two stellar seniors. Year three was riddled with injuries and IWU never made it out of the NCCAA Regional or the Crossroads League Tournament. They battled injuries all year and were able to secure a 32-26 record desipite all of their adversity.
In his fourth season the record books needed to be rewritten yet again. The Wildcats won the Crossroads League Tournament and advanced to the NAIA Nationals for the second time in Coach Babinski's four year career at IWU and only the second time in the history of the school's 28 year program. They did it by amassing the most wins in school history going 47-12 and having a 25 game win streak. They were third in the nation with doubles(112), fourth in runs(449), fifth in hits(577), sixth in RBIs(348) and stolen bases(129), seventh in slugging(.528%), ninth in AVE(.357) and carried a team ERA of 2.27 which was good for eighteenth in the nation. The combination of offence, defense, and pitching was unmatched in any other Wildcat Season. The Wildcats got as low as #18 in the nation, another feat that was IWUs best in school history. They had numerous awards and had IWU's first NAIA 1st Team All-American in designated player Alex Springer.
Year five was the toughest schedule yet as the Wildcats started off the season 4-4 against NCAA DII oppents and some of the best NAIA teams in the west coast. They used the early tough schedule to take 2nd in the Crossroads League with an impressive 44-18 record and a League record of 26-10. They advanced to the NAIA National openening round and as a #4 seed beat #3 seed Olivet Nazarene University(IL) and #2 seed Davenport University(MI) before losing to #1 Seed Southeastern University(FL). The Davenport win was the highest ranked win in school's history as Davenport was #12 in the Nation. For the year, IWU had two NAIA 1st Team All-Americans in sophomore designed player Alex Springer(Her second in her career) and junior outfielder Kaisey Carson. The team was all over the National Rankings as the were nationally ranked third for team hits(609), runs(385), RBIs(354), 8th in Home Runs(58), 9th for Batting Average(.340), 10th in stolen bases(117), 14th in Slugging(.492), while scoring over 6 runs a game and posting a team ERA of a 2.60. The team was one of the most prolific in school's history!
Year six saw the Wildcats do even better as they won the opening round of the NAIA Nationals by upsetting the #9, #11, and #9 teams in the nation to get to the World Series. Those 3 wins are the highest ranked wins in the school history...and the came at the right time to propel IWU to the final stage. At the World Series the Wildcats suffered two 1-run heartbreak losses. Their amazing showing and fantastic 44-15 year earned IWU their best ranking in school's history! The Wildcats are #10 in the nation! The 2017 Wildcats were all over the Nations leader boards in Home Runs 59(4th, RBI's 374(4th), SLG .538(4th), AVE .357(5th), Hits 578(5th), Runs 410(5th), doubles 95(13th), Pitchers Ks 310(14th), Stolen Bases 92(20th), Pitchers opponents BA .234(22nd), ERA 2.14(27th) and Fielding .958(36th). Leading the way was 1st Team AllAmerican Kaisey Carson who set new IWU single Season records with AVE .491, hits 104, runs 79, Doubles 27, SLG .920 and had a 1.97 ERA with a 24-10 record on the mound. The Wildcats Used a combination of powers, speed, and defence to get IWU to heights never seen before.
In Babinski's six seasons the Wildcats have compiled a 240-104(.698) record which is the most amount of wins in any six year span in the 30 years of softball at IWU. The last six years the Wildcats have hit .340, had 583 doubles, while swiping 624 bases and smashing 273 homeruns. Indiana Wesleyan has established itself as one of the top programs in the nation.
"God has given me teams here at IWU who are hungry and buy into my philosophies," stated Coach Babinski, "I am blessed to be able to coach these girls and thank IWU, President Dr. Wright, and Athletic Director Mark Demichael for this opportunity."
In the last 8 seasons of Coach Babinski career he has coached 1 National Player of the Year, 5 Conference Players of the Year, 2 Conference Pitchers of the Year, 10 NAIA All-Americans, 10 NCCAA All-Americans, a sleu of All-League and academic all conference student athletes. He brings in his sixth recruiting class who suit up for the 2017-18 season.
Babinski came to Indiana Wesleyan from MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas. He led the MNU program to the NAIA National Tournament in 2010 and 2011, the first national championship appearances in program history.
In 7 seasons at MidAmerica Nazarene, Babinski compiled a record of 220-136 (.618) and reached the HAAC Tournament each year. Babinski led the Pioneers to the HAAC championship in 2010 and earned three other runner-up finishes. He is a two-time HAAC Coach of the Year, once honored as the NAIA Region Coach of the Year and twice tagged the NFCA Regional Coach of the Year. Babinski coached three HAAC Player of the Year recipients, one HAAC Pitcher of the Year, three HAAC Newcomers of the Year and four NAIA All-Americans.
The MNU and IWU record book looks vastly different under Babinski's tenure as head coach for seven seasons at MNU and four years at IWU. MNU finished the 2011 season ranked No. 19 in the NAIA, which is the best ranking in program history. Coach Babinski's first year at IWU they reached No. 25 in the nation which was the first time in school's history to be ranked and has since been as high as #10. MNU and IWU saw many records set on the field, including team batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, RBIs, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, stolen bases and wins.
In the classroom, his teams maintained a GPA above 3.0 all 13 years as a Head Softball Coach. The 2016-17 record breaking team carried a 3.29 GPA.
"Steve is a high energy person with great interpersonal skills," added DeMichael. "He has the ability to inject enthusiasm into a room as soon as he walks in. Combine that with his proven track record of running a successful collegiate softball program and it makes him a really great fit."
Before his tenure at MidAmerica Nazarene, Babinski spent two seasons as an assistant softball coach at NCAA Division I Bowling Green State (Ohio) University and one season as assistant softball coach at Grace (IN) College.
Steve and his wife, Rachel, live in Marion and have four children: Corianna, Alizzia, Benjamin, and Emi.
Assistant Coach - 6th Season
Kevin Juber begins his 6th year at IWU as Assistant Coach under Head Coach Steve Babinski. Juber coached 6 years under Babinski in Kansas at MidAmerica Nazarene University. He graduated from MNU in May of 2005 with a Sports Management degree while playing 3 year's of baseball as a Pioneer before injury caused his college career to be permenantly sidelined. His senior year Coach Juber became an undergraduate assistant coach for Coach Babinski and began his collegiate coaching career. He has also worked for the Iowa Cubs, Grand Slam Hitting Academy out of Des Moines, and as a para teacher shadowing autistic students. "Kevin is a top hitting instructor who excels at making good hitters great.", says Babinski, "His love of Jesus, passion for the players, and ability to teach excellence has made him a perfect fit for my programs over this last decade plus." Coach Juber is the Hitting Coach at IWU and works with the first basement.
Coach Juber's influence has been noticed. He adopted a record breaking team who won 45 games while hitting .323 and slugging .443 with 91 doubles, 13 triples, and 25 homeruns. In his years at IWU the team has improved in all of these offensive categories. They combined in the 5 years hitting .344 and slugging .509 with 492 doubles, 50 triples and 253 long balls.
Coach Juber runs individual lessons as well as the lead recruiting coach. He was a power hitting firstbaseman in college and has translated his knowledge and success to the game of softball. He teaches a high level of technique in the hitters physical and mental approach that gets them from good to great. "Coach Juber is one of a kind," stated Babinski, "Great teaching, ability to connect, dry humor...it all lends to players figuring out how to get the most out of what God has given them. His coaching style is unique and that is why you see our hitters being consistently some of the best in the nation." He has his masters in Strategic Management from IWU and begins his 12th year as an assistant coach. He currently resides in Marion, IN and works full time at Oak Hill High School.
Assistant Coach - 4th Season
Evelyn is entering her 4th year with the Wildcats. She is a 2011 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan who doubled majored in Psychology and Social Work. She also holds a Master of Science in Pychology from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a Marion, IN native who decided to stay local to pursue her college career. She graduated from IWU's prestigious John Wesley's Honors College and has stayed on at IWU as an Admissions Counselor. Evelyn joins the Lady Wildcats as the Team Chaplain and will be instrumental in helping the team grow in their faith as they pursue their spiritual, academic, and athletic goals. "Evelyn is the right person for us," explained Coach Babinski, "she has a vibrant faith and such a rich life journey that I know the players and coaches will gravitate towards. Her passion for excellence is only surpassed by her passion for her Savior."
Evelyn is also instrumental in the behind the scenes details of IWU Softball. She has an amazing understanding of the inter workings of Indiana Wesleyan and her networking skills are unmatched. "Evelyn's ability to make things happen with a few phone calls is absolutely a God's sent," shared Coach Babinski, "She is a developer in the truest sence and in a very short time has made a lasting imprint on IWU Softball and all those we come into contact with! She has helped our squad organize, plan, and graduate...which is a HUGE priority for us with our student-athletes!"
Assistant Coach - 2nd Season
Lindsey Krippel begins her 2nd year on Staff for the Wildcats. Coach Krippel was a 2016 graduate of NAIA softball powerhouse Olivet Nazarene University (IL) where she majored in Exercise Science. A 3 year starter in the outfield and at shortstop, Lindsey helped Olivet compile a 163-54 record and advanced to the NAIA Nationals 3 years. In 2014, she hit .400 and helped brake Olivet out of the Opening Round of Nations to the final sight of 10 at the NAIA World Series. A feat she healped IWU do in 2017 for the 1st time in School history. She was an Academic All-Conference and an Athletic All Conference member. Lindsey was apart of 3 difference regular season or tournament championship titles in the Chicagoland Conference. Her name is set in the record books as #2 in the NAIA for All Time Hit By Pitch leader (72), she wears the honor and bruises with pride.
A 3 time Academic All-Conference member, Lindsey also served as a part of the Student Advisory Committee for 3 years. "I chose IWU because I wanted to be at a University that allowed me to incorporate my faith into my coaching career. IWU not only allows this, but encourages it. Each member of the staff abides by the athletic department's mission to impact the world through Christ by using intercollegiate athletics as a platform to do so." Lindsey saw IWU up close her senior year when we ended her career at the opening round of Nationals hosted by #12 Davenport University. IWU came from behind with their surging offense in the 7th. ONU was leading 3-2, due to the 2 out 2 RBI hit by Lindsey a few innings earlier. The Wildcats scored 4 runs in the 7th and closed the door on defense in the bottom of the 7th to win 6-4.
"Lindsey is an amazing addition to our staff. Her drive, hard word, and commitment to excellence sets her apart! She was the only person on our team, on staff or as a player, who has competed at the final site of the NAIA World Series...and I believe was a HUGE reason we got there last year," shared IWU Head Coach Steve Babinski. "She is so eager to grow in her faith and learn how to become a stronger spiritual leader that it is contagious!" Lindsey concludes, "I feel so incredibly grateful to begin my coaching career at Indiana Wesleyan," explained Lindsey, "My ultimate desire as a coach is to develop student-athletes into the best versions of themselves in preparation for what comes next in each of their lives after college. I'm excited to be put in a position to use intercollegiate athletics as a place to bring others into a closer relationship with God and with each other."
Grad Assistant - 2nd Season
Alyssa Morris comes into her 2nd season here at IWU and is the 3rd IWU Softball Graduate Assistant in IWU history. She took the leap of faith coming from Virginia Beach, VA. Alyssa has a very decorated softball career. She left high school as a 1st Team All-State Catcher, 1st Team All-Region member, Player of the Year and two time Catcher of the Year. Her success continued at NCAA DII Concord University where she set the school's record for single season and career homeruns. Her career 46 Homeruns puts her on last year's top 10 for career homeruns for all NCAA DII active players. Alyssa carried a career .365 batting average with 49 doubles, 46 homeruns, 120 runs, 169 RBIs, 82 walks, and threw out 25 runners trying to steal. "Alyssa was an amazing player and I am learning she is an even better person!" Shared IWU Head Coach Steve Babinski, "Alyssa has natural ability but her desire to learn the game and be the best she could be elevated her skill set to an entirely different level."
In college Alyssa picked up All-WVIAC awards all 4 years in addition to being named NFCA All-American catcher her junior year when she hit .393 with 15 doubles and 15 homeruns. "I chose IWU because when I spoke to Coach Babs about the program and the school I was immediately drawn in. I instantly got a good feeling that this was a good school and program to go into. I researched IWU and was thoroughly impressed and excited. The minute I stepped on campus I knew I made the right decision." Alyssa is involved in all aspects of the program and will be the catching coach. "I am really excited to get to know the team more and help them grow as players and people while we all grow in our faith." Alyssa has her undergraduate degree in Sociology with a focus on crime and deviance while minoring in Social Work. She is pursuing her Master's degree here at IWU in Public Administration with a focus on criminal justice. "We would not have made it to the World Series last year without her!" Stated Coach Babinski, "She grew our catching core from good to great! We started with 4 catchers who she developed daily. A huge part of the season we were down to 2 catchers, who if weren't developed , would not have been so impactful for us!" The catching core only surrendered 41 stolen bases, while the Wildcats spiked 92! Good luck Coach Alyssa, keep it up and help the Waldcats get back the the World Series!!!