For the past 35 years, Lori Meyer has occupied the third-base coaching box at Minnesota State.
That’s a span of 1,920 games, 1,193 victories, 30 All-Americans, 107 All-Conference (NCC & NSIC) performers and 150 Academic All-Conference recipients. During that time, Minnesota State has won three North Central Conference titles (1987, 1989, 2007) and five Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference titles (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017), made 15 trips to the NCAA Division II National Tournament (1987, 1989, 1995, 1997, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018) and a trio of trips to the NCAA Championships (1987, 2011, 2017) and an NCAA Division II National Championship in 2017. Those are not just numbers of a mere coach, those are marks that some would say, coaching legends are made of. In 2013, Meyer was selected as one of four inductees to the National Faspitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Hall of Fame and her induction video is available HERE. Her 1,230 wins rank third all-time amongst active coaches and is fourth all-time in NCAA Division II history.
The 2017 proved to be a special season for Minnesota State, not only because it claimed NSIC regular season and tournament championships, but it also made its third trip to the NCAA Championships, en route to claiming the Mavericks' first ever NCAA Division II National Championship with a 64-7 overall record. Along the way the Mavericks set several team records including, 71 games played, 64 wins, 28 consecutive wins, 1,925 at bats, 438 runs scored, a .342 team batting average, 658 hits, 108 doubles, 376 runs batted in and 949 total bases.
Several Mavericks gained NSIC honors for their efforts in 2017, including senior pitcher Coley Ries who garnered her third NSIC Pitcher of the Year honor and her third All-NSIC First Team honor. Meyer received her fourth NSIC Coach of the Year honor and third in the last four seasons. Along with conference honors, several Mavericks went on to receive all-region honors from the NFCA and D2CCA. The trio of Coley Ries, Amber Kral and Jessica Meidl each received All-Central Region honors from the NFCA and D2CCA, while McKenzie Paap and Ashley Thell garnered All-Central Region honors from the D2CCA and the NFCA, respectively.
Minnesota State would keep hauling in the awards and both Coley Ries and Jessica Meidl claimed All-American honors. Ries, who received All-American First Team honors from the NFCA and D2CCA was also named the D2CCA Pitcher of the Year and the NFCA Player of the Year. Ries also excelled in the classroom as she became the fourth Maverick softball player to receive CoSIDA Academic All-American honors. Meidl was named to the NFCA All-American Second Team as well.
Minnesota State's 2017 NCAA Tournament run marked the 14th time the Mavericks have reached the postseason tournament. MSU opened the tournament at home for the NCAA Central Region 2 Tournament, where it defeated Augustana twice (8-4 & 4-3) and Central Oklahoma (3-0) to advance to the NCAA Super Region Tournament. Junior Jessica Meidl batted .600 and drove in six runs, while Coley Ries recorded a 3-0 record and struck out 28 batters in 21 innings.
As the NCAA Super Region Tournament in Searcy, Ark., the Mavericks took on Harding. The Mavericks began with a 1-0, 10-inning victory in game one that saw Coley Ries go the distance as she struck out 10 batters in 10 scoreless innings. Amber Kral drove in the game's only run with a solo shot to left field. Game two went the Bisons as they rallied for two runs in the seventh to claim the 3-2 lead, to set up a deciding third game. Game three saw the Harding build a 6-3 lead after five innings, but the Mavericks would rally for two runs in the top of the sixth and seventh innings to win the super region championship 7-6.
At the NCAA Championships, the Mavericks went 5-0 including wins over Southern Indiana (5-0), Armstrong State (8-4), West Virginia Wesleyan (5-2) and a pair of 5-1 wins against Angelo State in the NCAA Championship series. MSU trailed for only half an inning against West Virginia Wesleyan as they led the NCAA Championships in team batting average (.326), ERA (1.20), hits (46) and runs scored (28). Coley Ries, Carly Esselman, Jessica Meidl, McKenzie Paap and Alyssa Rickels were all named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team, with Ries being named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Ries finished the championships with a 5-0 record, including a 1.20 ERA and 50 strikeouts. Alyssa Rickels batted .714 at the NCAA Championships with 10 hits in 14 at bats.
Meyer, along with her assistants Kristle Wolcott and Sammie Hildreth, were named the NFCA Coaching Staff of the Year for their efforts.
In 2018, the Mavericks once again advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 15th time under Meyer as they finished their season with a 35-19 record, including a 14-10 NSIC record. Senior Jessica Meidl would receive All-American honors from both the NFCA and D2CCA. Meidl, along with McKenzie Paap, Hannah McCarville and Carly Esselman each received All-NSIC honors.
In 2019, Minnesota State finished with a 37-19 record, marking the 14th consecutive season that the Mavericks have finished with a winning record. MSU also boasted an NSIC record of 20-10 as the Mavericks finished fifth in the NSIC standings. Both Cori Kennedy and McKenzie Paap claimed All-NSIC Second Team honors, while Amber Kral became the fifth Maverick softball player to claim CoSIDA Academic All-American honors.
The 2016 season saw the Mavericks claim their fourth NSIC Championship in the last five seasons as they finished the year with a 45-17 record, including a 23-6 NSIC record. Minnesota State also made its 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Junior pitcher Coley Ries would go to break the MSU career strikeout record at MSU, en route to claiming All-American honors from both the NFCA and D2CCA.
Ries, who was named the NSIC Pitcher of the Year in 2016, was joined by freshman McKenzie Paap, who was named the NSIC Freshman of the Year after leading MSU with a.433 batting average. Paap also led the team in hits with 88 and runs scored with 48.
The 2015 season saw a young Maverick squad finish its season with a 38-23 record as it finished third in the NSIC with a 20-10 league record. On the season, several players made their marks in the MSU record book, including Tatum Klein who set records on the base paths as she established a single-season record of 49 stolen bases which led the NSIC and ranked 12th in all of DII. Klein also became MSU’s all-time leader in stolen bases with 76. Meyer also notched her 1,200th career win during MSU's 11-5 victory over Edinboro.
Coley Ries and Libby Bemis each made their presence felt in the circle in 2015 as they combined for three no-hitters. Bemis notched the first no-hitter of the season as she struck out eight batters in six innings against Merrimack. Ries would follow with a pair of no-hitters on back-to-back games against Northern State and MSU Moorhead. Ries would set a new MSU single-season record of 297 strikeouts as well.
The 2014 season marked the third straight season in which the Mavericks claimed an NSIC Championship as they finished the season with a 43-13 record, including a league-best 25-3 record in conference play. Meyer added another milestone to her already storied career at Minnesota State as she recorded her 1,000th career victory April, 13 when the Mavericks defeated Minot State 8-5. The Mavericks would go on to make their 12th trip to the NCAA Tournament, including the second straight season in which MSU was selected to host the NCAA Sub Region Tournament. Lindsey Erickson was named an NFCA and Daktronics All-American, while Samantha Holien received NFCA All-American honors.
The 2013 season saw more of the same from the Mavericks as they rolled to a 40-12 overall record and advanced to the NCAA playoffs for the 11th time, and seventh straight season.
In 2012 Minnesota State played to a 49-10 record and hosted the NCAA Sub-Region tournament for the second time in as many years. Meyer’s string of All-Americans continued in 2012 as catcher Lindsay Erickson was tabbed an All-American by Daktronics and the NFCA.
The 2011 campaign was arguably one of Meyer’s greatest at Minnesota State as the Mavericks finished 54-16 and tied for fifth at the national championships. The Mavericks established several team records a year ago, including games played (70), wins (54), at bats (1,874), runs (370), batting average (.320), hits (600), doubles (103), runs batted in (336), stolen bases (108), total bases (900) and tied the school record for home runs (57). Individually, several Mavericks earned accolades as well as pitcher Kendra Huettl was named the Elite 88 Award Winner at the national championships for boasting the best grade point average at the event (3.99 in nursing) and designated player/catcher Lindsay Erickson was tabbed an All-American by both Daktronics and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
Meyer registered her 900th career victory with a 12-0 win at Bemidji State on March 25, 2012.
An eight-time league coach of the year and three-time Midwest Regional Coach of the Year, Meyer and her staff were named the NFCA Central Region Staff of the Year in 2011. A noted clinician, the Storm Lake, Iowa, native instructed the Fifth Annual European Baseball/Softball Clinic in Italy in 1989. She has also served on several NCAA Division II Softball Committees, including the Midwest Region Advisory Committee, the Midwest Region All-American Committee and the NCAA Women’s Softball Rules Committee. She has also served a stint as the Division II representative to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Last season, Meyer wrapped up a four-year stint on the NCAA Division II Softball Committee.
Academic success has always been an important component under Meyer as well. During her time at MSU, she’s seen six teams finish with a grade point average in the top-five of Division II, including her 1996 squad, which had the best GPA in Division II with a 3.31. Additionally, 136 Mavericks have earned NFCA All-Academic honors to go on top of the aforementioned 150 that have earned academic all-conference.
A 1982 graduate of Upper Iowa, Meyer lettered in volleyball, basketball and softball in college, and in the fall of 2001, was inducted into the UIU Athletics Hall of Fame. She began her coaching career as a volleyball and softball graduate assistant at MSU, earning her master’s degree in physical education from MSU in 1985. In addition to her current duties as a softball coach, Meyer has also taught in the Human Performance Department and serves as Minnesota State’s Senior Women’s Administrator.