College Softball: Becky Pearl named coach at Lewis
By Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media July 21, 2014 4:42PM
Updated: August 23, 2014 6:19AM
Lewis is hoping a Pearl will turn out to be a gem.
Becky Pearl has been hired as the Flyers’ fifth softball coach in program history and first in three decades. George DiMatteo, who won more than 1,000 games in his career, retired after this his 31st season as Flyers coach.
“Naturally, no one will fill George’s shoes,” Pearl said. “But with the work ethic and commitment I instill in the players, it won’t be long until this team puts out what we put into it.”
“You can’t replace coach DiMatteo and all that he meant to the softball program and Lewis University for over 30 years, but coach Pearl will continue on this path of excellence that has been forged,” Lewis athletic director Dr. John Planek said in a press release.
DiMatteo exited with the 20th-most wins in NCAA history and the sixth most in NCAA Division II lore.
“I couldn’t be more excited and proud to pick up this team where coach DiMatteo left it,” Pearl said. “He truly built this program to what it is today.”
Lewis featured a team 3.51 ERA in 2014, nearly an entire run more (2.58) than a year ago. It was the highest ERA in program history. Lewis went 23-24, its first losing season since 1995.
“I want to be true to myself and make sure the team is being honest with each other,” Pearl said. “You have to put yourself out there, have them buy into your philosophy and mentality. It’s always tough the first year because there is a transition period. By being patient and diligent, I have no doubt we’ll work together to get where we need to be.”
Pearl comes to Lewis after serving as softball coach at Judson in Elgin the past 10 years, setting a school record with more than 250 wins. Under her guidance, Judson advanced to the National Christian College Athletic Association Tournament six times, with three third-place finishes. In 2011, Pearl was the National Fast pitch Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year.
Pearl graduated from Illinois Wesleyan, where she served as an assistant softball coach for three seasons before being hired at Judson. The graduate of Crete-Monee led the Warriors to a program-best 27-9 mark as a senior.
“Like any coach, I want to win championships,” Pearl said. “That’s really what it’s all about. I want to win games and graduate quality student-athletes.”