CLEARWATER, Fla. – Make that 1,001 wins.
SIUE softball's Sandy Montgomery joined the list of collegiate head coaches with 1,000 career wins Friday as the Cougars defeated Holy Cross and added one more with a win over Providence.
SIUE defeated Holy Cross 4-2 in the opening game of the Under Armour Showcase at Eddie Moore Field. In SIUE's second game of the day, the Cougars blanked Providence 3-0.
Montgomery became the 32nd head coach in all divisions to break the 1,000 win barrier. Among NCAA Division I coaches, she is the 13th to pass 1,000 wins.
Montgomery was flattered with the effort her coaching staff and fans made to make her 1,000th win memorable.
"Coach (Jessica) Jones had some T-shirts set up, and the dads (of some of the players) painted a '1,000' on their bellies and 'wins' on their back," said Montgomery. "It was nice. The kids were excited. I was touched by their efforts into making a special thing for me."
"It was awesome to be a part of it," said senior captain Allison Smiley. "I was here for her 900th win. To get her to 1,000 wins is awesome. It was an awesome experience. She deserves it completely."
The Cougars improved to 16-4 this season and increased its winning streak to five games. The tournament continues Saturday with a 10:30 a.m. CT game against IPFW and a 3:15 p.m. contest against Saint Joseph's. SIUE's final game of the tournament is Sunday at 8 a.m. CT against South Dakota State.
In her 29th season as the head coach for the Cougars, Montgomery has been an SIUE mainstay having played for former Head Coach Cindy Jones from 1982 to 1985. She then spent time as an assistant coach for Jones before being named the head coach before the 1989 season.
Her 1,000 wins has included a Division II national championship in 2007, 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, six conference titles, a National Coaching Staff of the Year award and three Regional Coaching Staff of the Year awards.
Her teams have won 50 games in a season twice, 40 wins seven times and 30 or more wins 20 times. That includes 14 consecutive 30-win seasons from 1996 to 2009.
She has coached 11 All-Americans, 55 All-Region players and 73 All-Conference players.
Getting to her 1,000th win Friday wasn't easy. Montgomery said the team got off to a slow start against Holy Cross, falling behind 2-0 after three innings.
"They were really tight," said Montgomery. "I wanted them to turn things around. I didn't care about the record. They listened up a little bit after that and things started going our way."
SIUE used a four-run rally in the fifth inning to push past Holy Cross, which dropped to 2-9. Emily Ingles earned the win and is now 4-1.
Haley Chambers-Book tossed a three-hit shutout in the day's second game against Providence. Chambers-Book, now 9-3, struck out nine.
Reagan Curtis' RBI double in the first inning is all the Cougars needed. SIUE had four hits against Providence.