Gaines' Jersey Retirement, Hesse 25-Year Celebration to Highlight April 20 DH
March 27, 2013
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Missouri State University has announced celebration plans for the April 20 home doubleheader versus Evansville. The Bears will formally retire former softball great Barb Gaines' jersey and celebrate a quarter-century of contributions by head coach Holly Hesse.
Gaines became the first Missouri State softball All-America pick as a senior in 1993. She was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Third Team after authoring one of the most outstand¬ing careers in the program's history.
A native of St. Louis, Gaines enjoyed a brilliant senior season, ranking among the national top-10 in batting average for most of the season and finishing with a then-school record .442 mark. Gaines ranked first in the Missouri Valley Conference in hits (68) and second in stolen bases (22).
The first player in Gateway/MVC history to win all-league honors four straight years, Gaines closed her career with five Missouri State single-season records and eight career marks. She still holds the career records for hits (252), total chances (1,287), and batting average (.403), is second in stolen bases (58), and at bats (626), third in putouts (1,013) and fourth in runs (113).
Gaines received the Missouri State Outstanding Female Athlete award in 1992 and 1993 and was inducted into the Missouri State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000.
Current MSU coach Hesse is in the midst of her 25th season at the helm of the Bears' softball program. During her tenure, she has racked up 636 wins, second all-time by a Valley coach. She led the Bears to NCAA Tournament appearances in 1996, 1997, 1998, 2006 and most recently, 2011. She won regular season conference titles in 1992 and 1994, earning league Coach of the Year accolades both times.
Hesse has coached 51 first-team all-conference selections and 25 MVC Scholar-Athlete first teamers. Seven of her players have been inducted into the Missouri State Athletics Hall of Fame.
Among her greatest victories as the Bears' boss, Hesse led her team to the win over No. 1 seed Stanford in the 1998 NCAA Tournament, the only No. 4 seed to defeat a 1-seed that year. Hesse's Bears also knocked off No. 10 Michigan in 1996, No. 11 Oklahoma in 1999 and No. 6 Alabama in 2006.
Ceremonies on April 20 will include Gaines throwing out the first pitch prior to the doubleheader. Her jersey retirement ceremony will take place between games. A post-game reception will be held after the conclusion of the doubleheader. Those wishing to attend the post-game reception are asked to RSVP to Beth Perine by Wednesday, April 10.