Garman Reaches 1,000-Victory Milestone

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cal State Fullerton softball Coach Judi Garman has her milestone 1,000th victory, and she's eager to keep adding to the total.

"I still love softball," she said. "It wears you down a little doing it 24 hours a day, the way I do sometimes, but the older you get the more you like to win."

The Titans gave Garman her 789th Division I victory at Fullerton Thursday night to go with 211 she won in eight seasons as a community college coach at Golden West. That total ranks No. 1 in the nation among college softball coaches.

Garman is second in Division I coaching victories behind UCLA's Sharron Backus, who has 812 in her 21st year.

Garman's 1,000th came in the first game of a doubleheader against Long Beach State. The Titans pushed across a run in the sixth inning to win, 1-0.

Sophomore catcher Rocky Medina dropped a base hit into short right field, scoring Wendi Griffin from second with two outs. Griffin had singled and advanced on an infield out. Titan pitcher Brandi Isgar (7-2) gave up two hits in her fourth consecutive victory.

Garman, coaching third base, was happy she had gambled by sending Griffin home on Medina's hit. "Their right fielder chose to throw to first, but a good throw probably would have gotten our runner at home. But, with two out, I had to take a chance that she'd make a bad throw. I always say it helps to be lucky too."

The Titans presented Garman a dozen roses after the victory. "It was nice for this to happen at home," said Garman. "This will be a very pleasant memory."

Fullerton (15-5) also won the second game, 3-0, on a one-hitter by freshman Liza Brown.

This is Garman's 17th season at Fullerton.

"I'll probably keep on coaching for at least another two or three years," she said. "I'd really like to have a team win that second national championship. But one of my assistants [Michelle Gromacki], says I've been saying something about 'two more years' for quite a while already."

Garman's 1986 team won the Women's College World Series after finishing second in 1981, 1983 and 1985. Her teams also were third in 1982 and 1987. The Titans finished fifth last year. Fullerton has qualified for the playoffs in each of Garman's previous 16 seasons.

Garman's teams won four national community college championships at Golden West before she moved to Fullerton in 1980.

There was no on-campus field at Fullerton for Garman's first five seasons, with the team playing mainly at a municipal field. "We played in about four different places that first year and used some donated equipment," Garman said.

Garman said that first team's only goal was to make the playoffs, and the Titans finished ninth in the nation. "I remember someone saying that it could only go downhill after that," Garman said.

It didn't, and Garman's team six years later won the NCAA championship. "That was such a special team from the beginning," she said.

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