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Former Florida State head coach reflects on history of Seminole softball

Posted at 6:59 PM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 18:59:40-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The recent success of the Florida State softball program can't be ignored, but the history of how they got here, is a testament to who built it.

"Couple of times, once we started playing in '84, the slowpitch kids went through the batting order, it was pretty hysterical," remembered former head coach JoAnne Graf. "They were swinging at just about everything."

JoAnne Graf, coaching for a program whose field now bears her name, led the Seminoles to AIAW National Championships in slowpitch softball in 1981 and 1982.

"I think our success in slowpitch allowed us as coaches to recruit very good athletes in faspitch because we were successful and competitive and had that desire to compete at the National level."

Just three years after making the transition, Florida State was in the Women's College World Series in 1987, the first of seven appearances that Graf made in her thirty year career. That helped set the stage for the Seminoles today.

"You don't realize how old you are until you start thinking about when you started and when you played and when you first started coaching at FSU," she laughed.

She won over 75 percent of her games as a head coach, and to see the success of current coach Lonni Alameda and the Seminoles has been the best part, of seeing the game grow.

"I think it's tough sometimes to follow somebody that's been around a long time and been successful," said Graf. "Lonni came in and didn't miss a beat."

The proof is right there, on JoAnne Graf Field.