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In his fourth season at the helm of the Valparaiso softball program, Jordan Stevens has led the Crusaders to new heights through his first three years, as Valpo has captured the Horizon League Championship each of the last two seasons and earned the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament win last year. Stevens enters 2014 with a 111-67-1 record at the helm of the Crusaders.
Entering 2013 having to replace all but 1.2 innings in the circle from the 2012 team, as well as three of the most prolific hitters in Crusader program history, Stevens simply reloaded the Valpo program. The Crusaders won 29 games in the regular season, including a third-place finish within Horizon League play.
Then, for the second consecutive year, the Crusaders went on a sterling run through the Horizon League Championship, winning five straight elimination games after losing their opener to claim the tournament crown. Having earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season, Stevens led the Crusaders one step farther in 2013, as Valpo downed Central Michigan for its first NCAA Tournament win in program history.
Stevens coached five All-League honorees in 2013, as the Crusaders placed one player on the First Team, four players on the Second Team and a pair of freshmen on the All-Newcomer Team. The 2013 team led the Horizon League in four offensive and two pitching categories, while also boasting players who broke a pair of program single-season records.
Stevens guided the Crusaders to 42 victories in his second season in charge in 2012, surpassing by seven wins the program's previous single-season wins record. Along the way, he led Valpo to an 11-game winning streak as part of a 16-1 stretch, as well as a 13-0 start to Horizon League play, the second-best start to a season in league history. The Crusaders finished 19-5 in Horizon League play, claiming the first league regular season championship in program history by 3.5 games.
Stevens then led the Crusaders in a dramatic run to the Horizon League Championship. After falling in the first game of the tournament, Valpo won five consecutive knockout games, the last three of which came in walk-off fashion, to claim the Horizon League Championship and the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. In the NCAA Tournament, Stevens led Valpo to within one out of a massive upset at #9/7 Louisville in the tournament opener before a walk-off homer, while the Crusaders also had the tying run on base in the seventh inning of their elimination game against Kentucky.
The 2012 Crusaders re-wrote the program's record books, setting 14 new team single-season records and 14 new individual records. The squad had five players earn postseason honors from the Horizon League, including the league's Newcomer of the Year and four First Team All-League honorees. Three players also earned NFCA All-Region honors as well.
Stevens guided Valpo to 34 victories in his debut campaign, just one win shy of the program's then single-season record. Along the way, the Crusaders enjoyed a 13-game winning streak, setting a new program record in that regard. Valpo finished Horizon League play with a 15-7 record, finishing just one-half game out of the regular season championship, and was within one run of advancing to the league tournament championship.
The impetus for the Crusaders' success in 2011 was in large part due to their record-setting offensive output. Valpo paced the league in nine separate offensive categories, setting then team single-season records for runs batted in (245) and home runs (49). Individually, Stevens coached seven league leaders, while two Crusaders broke Valpo's single-season RBIs record and three topped the previous single-season home runs mark. Seven players in all earned All-League recognition, as well as one All-Region honoree.
The Crusaders' success under Stevens hasn't been limited to just on-field action, however. Valpo has also excelled in the classroom, earning the NFCA Team Academic Award and ranking among the top-45 teams in the nation in GPA in each of Stevens' first three seasons. A total of 25 Crusaders have been named NFCA All-America Scholar Athletes as well.
Stevens came to Valpo after spending the 2010 season as head coach at Division III Union (N.Y.) College, leading the Dutchwomen to the most successful season in program history. He guided Union to a school-record tying 32 victories last year en route to its first Liberty League regular season title since 2005. The Dutchwomen went on to win their first-ever Liberty League Tournament championship, qualified for the ECAC Division III Upstate Championship as the top overall seed and won that title as well.
Under Stevens’ guidance, Union rose as high as #5 in the NFCA regional rankings in 2010. He coached the Liberty League Co-Pitcher of the Year, as well as six total All-League recipients. Stevens and his staff were also named the league’s Coaching Staff of the Year as they guided the Dutchwomen to the top spot in the league in both team batting average (.333) and team ERA (2.15).
Prior to arriving at Union, Stevens spent a year as assistant coach at the University of Rhode Island. While with the Rams in 2009, he was directly responsible for the development and coaching of the pitching staff, helping to lower the squad’s team ERA by 1.72 runs and reduce opponents’ batting average by 40 points.
Previously, Stevens served two seasons as an assistant coach at Niagara University, where he was responsible for development and individual instruction in hitting. He helped lead the Purple Eagles to single-season school records for batting average, hits and home runs, the latter of which was the second-highest single season mark in MAAC history. He helped guide Niagara to the winningest season in school history in 2008, coaching the conference Co-Player of the Year along the way. Niagara also finished among the top-20 teams nationally in doubles (2007), home runs (2008) and slugging percentage (2008) during his tenure.
From 2004 to 2006, Stevens was the head varsity softball coach at Notre Dame Academy in Toledo, Ohio. He helped the Eagles win two sectional championships, make two district final appearances and win back-to-back Toledo City League titles in 2004 and 2005. Stevens was named the league’s Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2005 and was honored as the Northwest Ohio Division I Coach of the Year in 2005 as well. Along the way, he coached 17 All-League athletes, 10 All-District honorees and two All-State recipients.
Stevens graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2004 with his bachelor’s degree as a sports management major. He is currently a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).