FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Following a pair of historic seasons, including back-to-back Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season championships and a 2022 SEC Softball Tournament title, University of Arkansas Head Softball Coach Courtney Deifel has signed a new employment agreement that could keep her in the third base coaching box at Bogle Park through 2030.
“The phenomenal success of our softball program is a credit to many, including our student-athletes, assistant coaches and staff, however, it is unquestionably a tangible result of the outstanding leadership of Coach Courtney Deifel,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek said. “Coach Deifel has proven herself to be one of the top coaches in the country and has established Razorback Softball as one of the premier collegiate softball programs within the Southeastern Conference and nationally. We are excited that Coach Deifel will continue to lead our program for years to come as we compete for SEC and NCAA championships.”
The new five-year agreement runs from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2027 and includes a series of scheduled salary increases and up to two one-year agreement extensions based on NCAA Tournament appearances. Additional incentive payments will be based on success in the SEC and the NCAA Tournament and graduation of softball student-athletes.
“I cannot thank Hunter and the University of Arkansas enough for their continued belief in me and my staff to lead this program,” Head Softball Coach Courtney Deifel said. “I am incredibly proud of what we have built here and equally humbled by the opportunity to continue to be the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Our success is the product of the shared efforts of our student-athletes, assistant coaches, support staff, administrators, Razorback Foundation members and fans. I look forward to working together as we accomplish even more of our goals for many years to come. And last but not least, Arkansas is our family’s home. My boys are Arkansans, and this an unbelievable community for us to raise them.”
In seven seasons in Fayetteville, Deifel has orchestrated the Razorbacks’ return to postseason play and guided the program to two SEC regular season championships, one SEC Tournament crown and five NCAA Tournament appearances in six opportunities, which includes five consecutive berths from 2017-22. The Hogs have qualified for the national tournament every year it has been held since 2017. Deifel led the program to its first NCAA Tournament Super Regional appearances in 2018, 2021 and 2022.
Since her first season in 2016, the Razorbacks have been ranked 69 times in the NFCA Coaches’ Poll after previously being ranked only once in program history. Nine of the program’s 10 NFCA All-American awards and 78 Easton/NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete accolades have been accumulated under Deifel since 2016. Sitting at 238 career wins at Arkansas, Deifel is seven wins away from becoming the program’s winningest head coach.
In 2022, Deifel guided the Razorbacks to their most successful season in school history, collecting back-to-back SEC regular season titles, headlined by the program’s first outright regular season crown, and the program's first SEC Tournament championship after blanking Missouri, 4-0, in Gainesville, Fla., on May 13. Arkansas concluded the season with the most single-season wins in program history and a 48-11 record, marking a program-record .814 win percentage. Arkansas finished SEC play with a 19-5 record, producing the second consecutive 19-win conference season for the Hogs. Against Missouri State on March 3, Deifel became just the second head coach in program history to reach 200 career wins.
The Hogs made their 11th NCAA Tournament appearance, earning the program’s highest overall seed (No. 4) and hosted their second straight Super Regional. The Razorbacks hosted the highest attended Regional and Super Regional in the NCAA in 2022.
The Razorbacks tabbed an SEC-best 12 all-conference honors and a school-record five NFCA All-American nods to round out yet another enormous postseason awards haul. Arkansas became the first SEC program since 2006 to have four first team all-Americans. Danielle Gibson (first team) became the program’s first two-time NFCA All-American while KB Sides (first team), Linnie Malkin (first team), Hannah Gammill (first team) and Chenise Delce (second team) earned their first All-American honors.
For the first time in program history, all eight NFCA All-Region nominees secured spots on All-South Region teams. Deifel was named SEC Coach of the Year for the second straight season while KB Sides became the program's its first-ever SEC Player of the Year honor and Chenise Delce earned the Hogs' second consecutive SEC Pitcher of the Year accolade after Mary Haff collected the award in 2021. Arkansas tabbed a league-best 12 all-conference honors and eight NFCA All-Region distinctions to round out an enormous postseason awards haul. The 2022 coaching staff was named the NFCA's South Region Staff of the Year for the second straight season.