When Laura Mendes' home run sailed over the wall at Coastal Carolina Softball Field on Wednesday night, it was more than an extra-inning win for the Gamecocks. With that win in the books, head softball coach Joyce Compton earned her 950th win at the helm of the South Carolina softball program.
Only eight other coaches in NCAA history have achieved 950 or more wins at a program. The distinguished list includes JoAnne Graf at Florida State, Margie Wright at Fresno State, Mike Candrea at Arizona, Carol Hutchins at Michigan, Elaine Sortino at Umass, Eugene Lenti at DePaul, Margo Jonker at Central Michigan and Diane Ninemire at California.
Despite achieving such a milestone, Compton was just happy to get a win for the team.
"You get good kids and eventually that sort of thing will happen. I'm not that much into numbers. To me, it was more of a positive that we were able to get a win."
Compton picked her first win as a Gamecock on March 6, 1987 in a 5-0 victory against Baylor in College Station. Over the course of 23 seasons, the Gamecocks have reached the College World Series twice (1989 and 1997), reached an NCAA Super Regional in 2007 and appeared in the NCAA Tournament fifteen times. The Gamecocks were the 2000 SEC Tournament Champions and SEC Eastern
Division Champions in 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2002.
In her overall career as a head softball coach, Compton has won more than 1,100 games and ranks among the top 25 winningest coaches in NCAA history.
Compton said the wins that really stand out to her were the ones that helped prolong the season for the Gamecocks.
"I think anytime we made the World Series, won the regionals or SEC Tournament Championships or anything that the team really gained something from are really the biggest wins for us," she said.
Over the course of her career at South Carolina, Compton said she's seen the game of college softball change in a number of ways.
"I think the game's gotten faster," she said. "I think the pitching probably isn't what it was fifteen or twenty years ago. It was more a pitching-dominated game then. The equpiment has made drastic changes that have helped hitters for sure. The athletes are probably better conditioned and probably coming to us with more experience."
Compton said she never got too involved with the numbers and always believed in the importance of competing hard.
"As a competitior, it's just a win. The most important thing is that you compete. If you compete well, the numbers will take care of themselves."Joyce Compton's Milestone Wins
1. 3/6/1987 vs. Baylor in College Station, Texas 5-0
100. 3/28/1989 vs. Charleston Southern, 10-0
200. 3/24/1991 vs. Toledo (game 2), 4-0
300. 3/26/1993 vs. Georgia Tech in Rock Hill, S.C., 9-0
400. 3/27/1995 vs. Toledo (game 2) 9-5
500. 4/5/1997 vs. Tennessee 1-0 (10 inn.) *Note - final game of NCAA record 38-game winning streak
600. 4/23/1999 vs. Georgia, 3-1
700. 3/2/2002 vs. Missouri in Plant City, Fla., 6-0 *Note - over her first Division I employer
800. 4/21/2004 vs. Furman, 8-2
900. 2/13/2008 vs. Western Carolina, 3-0
950. 3/24/2010 at Coastal Carolina, 3-1 (10 inn.)