Saturday is Coach Eugene Lenti Day in the City of Chicago
CHICAGO Saturday, April 25, 2009, has been designated Coach Eugene Lenti Day in Chicago. The proclamation sponsored by Alderman Vi Daley (43rd Ward) was approved by the Chicago City Council and signed by Mayor Richard M. Daley. Coach Lenti has been the head softball coach at DePaul University for 28 years and has built the program from its infancy into a national power and recently became the 12th softball coach in Division I to reach the 1,000 win plateau.
“Coach Eugene Lenti Day” is also in conjunction with DePaul University’s celebration of Lenti’s 1,000th career coaching victory. The “Grand Celebration” set for Saturday will take place between games one and two of the Blue Demons’ BIG EAST Conference doubleheader with Syracuse. The first pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for noon at Cacciatore Stadium in Lincoln Park.
Coach Lenti, who was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in December 2008, has taken 13 teams to NCAA Tournament, while 11 teams have been crowned a regular season conference champion.
A remarkable 22 All-Americans have been crowned during Lenti’s tenure. Eight of his student-athletes have been named a conference Player of the Year and another nine have earned conference Pitcher of the Year accolades. Seven DePaul players have won conference Rookie of the Year titles while still another 96 of his student-athletes have been named first team All-Conference.
Lenti’s pitching staffs are no stranger to the NCAA rankings as the 1998 group led the nation with a school record 0.60 ERA. That same season, Liza Brown was the national ERA individual champion. The 2003 pitching staff also left their mark in the NCAA rankings, finishing third nationally with an ERA of 0.83.
A true believer that academics are a primary focus, Lenti ensures that athletes come to DePaul to be students first. Under his direction 17 student-athletes have been named Academic All-Americans while 29 were Academic All-District and 178 have earned academic distinction on the conference level.
In 1999 Lenti and his staff were honored as the NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year while Lenti earned Mideast Coach of the Year honors. Lenti’s coaching staff was honored by the NFCA in both 2005 and 2007 as the Mideast Coaching Staff of the Year and he was named the Conference USA Women’s Coach of the Decade in 2005 after amassing a 105-21 record during the six seasons the Blue Demons competed in the league. Lenti was also named the C-USA Softball Coach of the Decade. Lenti and his staff have been honored nine times as either the conference Coach or Coaching Staff of the Year during his tenure.
This season the Blue Demons (32-10, 15-3 BIG EAST) are fighting for their second BIG EAST regular season crown. DePaul is led by senior All-American Amber Patton, who leads the nation with a .521 batting average and ranks seventh with a .572 on base percentage.