8th Season at UVa
Cheryl Sprangel is entering her eighth season at the helm of the University of Virginia softball program and has built a winning tradition. She is the school's all-time winningest softball coach. Sprangel came to Charlottesville with the intention of building Virginia into a softball power, and it did not take long for her to accomplish that goal. The Cavaliers have responded to Sprangel's presence by compiling a 272-183 overall record for a .598 winning percentage in her first seven seasons.
In 21 seasons as a head coach, Sprangel has a 732-538-1 record (.576 winning percentage), including 19 seasons with a .500 or better record. She is 19th among active Division I coaches with her 732 career victories and also ranks 23rd all-time. Sprangel registered her 700th career win on February 22 with a 4-3 nine-inning come-from-behind victory over Miami University (Ohio) in the Sonic Challenge in Chattanooga, Tenn. She became the 24th Division I head coach to win 700 career games.
Sprangel was one of nine 2004 inductees into the University of Toledo's Varsity "T" Hall of Fame. She posted a 460-355-1 (.568 winning percentage) in 14 seasons as the Rockets' head coach.
Sprangel and the Cavaliers reached new heights in 2001, winning 52 games, the most wins in a season by any team in the history of Virginia athletics. Virginia was 45-22 in 2002 and with the 45 wins, UVa posted back-to-back 40-plus win seasons for the first time in the 24-year history of the softball program. The 45 victories also marked the second highest single season win total for the Cavaliers. In 1998 and 1999, Sprangel's first two seasons at Virginia, the Cavaliers registered back-to-back 30-win seasons for just the third time in school history.
In 2004, the 25th anniversary of the Virginia softball program, Sprangel led the Cavaliers to a 38-26 record and a 6-4 mark in ACC play. The Cavaliers tied for second in the ACC regular season, the team's best finish since 1997. Sara Larquier was named a third-team Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I All-American and was a first-team All-Southeast Region pick. Larquier, Heather Field and Hannah Owings all earned All-ACC accolades and Larquier was named the VaSID Co-Player of the Year. Field, Owings, Erin Horn and Elea Crockett joined Larquier on the VaSID All-State Softball Team, while Sprangel was selected as the VaSID Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year and third time overall.
Virginia registered three wins over ranked opponents during the 2004 season, marking UVa's first wins over ranked opponents since the end of the 1999 season. The Cavaliers defeated 15th-ranked Fresno State 9-3 in the second game of a doubleheader on March 9 in Fresno, Calif. A day later UVa recorded an 8-2 win over 17th-rated Pacific in the nightcap of a twinbill in Stockton, Calif. Virginia also notched a 5-4 come-from-behind win over second-ranked Florida State on April 20 in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers scored four runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to post the victory. It marked the highest ranked team Virginia has ever defeated.
UVa registered a 37-26 record in 2003, the third consecutive 30-plus win campaign for the Cavaliers. Sprangel's squad finished ACC play with a 3-5 record, but bounced back to advance to the finals of the 2003 ACC Championship. It marked the fourth time in six years UVa advanced to the championship game of the ACC Tournament under Sprangel's tutelage. A school record five Cavaliers were named to the ACC Championship All-Tournament Team and two players, Ruby Rojas and Sara Larquier, earned All-ACC accolades. At the conclusion of the season, Sprangel was named the 2003 Virginia College Sports Information Directors (VaSID) University Division Coach of the Year. She was also the recipient of the honor in 2001.
In 2002, Sprangel became UVa's all-time winningest softball coach with her 186th victory for the blue and orange (a 7-5 win over Maryland on April 6, 2002). She surpassed Terry DeTuro, who won 185 games while coaching Virginia for six season (1987 to 1992).
UVa finished the 2002 season with a 45-22 record and a 1-6 mark in ACC play. In non-conference games against ACC foes, UVa posted a 6-2 record with the two losses coming in the ACC Championship where Virginia finished fourth. One of several highlights during the 2002 season was Kristen Dennis earning Louisville Slugger/NFCA second-team All-America honors for the second consecutive season. She was also named the ACC Player of the Year, the first UVa player during Sprangel's tenure to win the award. Dennis also earned first-team All-Southeast Region honors, while Heather Field was a second team selection. Rojas joined Dennis on the 2002 All-ACC team.
Sprangel, the 2001 VaSID Softball Coach of the Year, led the Cavaliers to a 52-17 mark in 2001. In posting that record, Virginia became the most improved Division I softball program in the country in 2001, after going 27-38 in 2000 - a 23-game improvement. The Cavaliers' 2001 season ranks seventh all-time in NCAA Division I history for most improved softball teams. The `Hoos tied for third in the ACC with a 4-4 conference record and compiled a 5-5 mark in Southern Atlantic Softball Alliance (SASA) play. In 2001, Sprangel coached three All-ACC players, three All-Region performers, and her first All-American at UVa. Under Sprangel's tutelage, Kristen Dennis was named a NFCA second-team All-American in 2001.
Sprangel earned her 600th career victory in the Cavaliers' 8-4 win in the first game of a doubleheader against Liberty on April 17, 2001 in Lynchburg, Va. She became the 27th Division I softball coach to record 600 wins.
During the 2000 season, Sprangel's third at Virginia, the Cavaliers posted a 27-38 record, which included a 3-5 mark in the ACC and a 5-5 record in the SASA. UVa went on to earn runner-up honors at the ACC Tournament for the third consecutive year.
In 1999, Sprangel's Virginia squad went 35-26 overall and was 4-4 in league play. The Cavaliers earned runner-up honors at the ACC Tournament, which included two wins over nationally-ranked Maryland. The Cavaliers were 6-6 in the SASA.
In 1998, Sprangel earned her 500th career coaching victory with a 12-2 triumph over Akron on February 19. That year, she guided the Cavaliers to a 38-28 record. Included in the 38 wins was a doubleheader sweep of 14th-ranked Florida State on April 18, in Charlottesville. UVa finished with an 8-9 record in the SASA (3-5 in the ACC) and placed second in the ACC Tournament with a 3-2 record.
Prior to arriving at Virginia, Sprangel served as the head softball coach at the University of Toledo for 14 seasons. She helped transform a 3-24 last-place team in the Mid-American Conference into a 44-23 MAC championship team in her first two years. The 44 overall victories are the most in the history of the softball program at Toledo. Under Sprangel, Toledo had a winning record in 12 of the 14 seasons she coached the Rockets. She led Toledo to a 460-355-1 record for a .564 winning percentage. The Rockets finished first or second in the MAC nine out of 14 seasons under Sprangel's direction. Sprangel's record in MAC play is 247-125-1 (.662 winning percentage). Her teams won at least 35 games on five occasions and recorded at least 20 wins in the MAC seven times.
Sprangel helped guide Toledo to MAC titles in 1985, 1989, and 1992. Her three MAC titles tie for the most by any coach in the history of University of Toledo women's athletics. Sprangel's 1989 team captured the NCAA Midwest Regional title and advanced to the College World Series, where the Rockets eventually tied for seventh place. That represents the farthest that a Toledo women's athletic program has ever advanced on a national level. Sprangel's teams earned a top 20 national ranking in 1985, 1989 and 1992. Her 1992 squad was ranked first in the Midwest Region.
Before her coaching stint at Toledo, Sprangel was an assistant coach at Central Michigan during the 1983 season. Prior to that, she spent two seasons coaching softball, volleyball, and basketball at the high school level in Lansing, Mich.
Sprangel was the Southwest Region representative to the All-American Selection Committee in 2001 and 2002.
A native of Addison, Mich., Sprangel graduated from Michigan State University in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in physical education. She also holds a master's degree in athletic administration from Central Michigan University (1986). Sprangel was a standout pitcher at Michigan State and Jackson Community College. She earned four softball letters and two letters in basketball and volleyball.