With Arizona's unique situation this year, more responsibility will fall on UA's assistants - and few young coaches in the country come with the credentials brought by Nancy Evans.
Evans, 28, enters her second decade with the Arizona program this year. A former Honda Award winner as National Player of the Year, she enters her fourth season as a full-time assistant coach on the UA staff. She also worked with the program as a volunteer assistant in the 1999-2000 seasons, and was one of the top players in the game from 1994 to 1998.
Her duties typically have involved considerable practice-session work with Arizona's pitchers, infielders and hitters, and game-day pitching strategy.
During the 2003 season, her work with freshman Alicia Hollowell helped the first-year hurler earn first-team All-America honors as well as all Pac-10 and elague Newcomer of the Year honors. The poised freshman nearly took UA to the ultimate game of the year, and her performance in Oklahoma earned Hollowell All-Women's College World Series honors as well.
In 2002 season, ceremonies at Hillenbrand Stadium marked the enshrinement of Evans' jersey No. 13 on the outfield fence, one of the handful of players so honored.
She took home a mountain of hardware as a top player in the game throughout her career. Notable among those was the 1998 Honda Softball Award as the National Player of the Year, first-team All-America honors for two consecutive years, Academic All-America honors, All-College World Series honors and College World Series Most Valuable Player. Her Wildcat teams won three national championships. She redshirted due to injury in 1996.
Evans tied her own single-season record with a 36-2 mark in 1998, striking out 255 and recording a 0.98 earned run average. She finished her career with a record of 124-8, No. 1 on UA's chart and then No. 3 on the NCAA chart. It remains the best winning percentage in NCAA history. She won 10 games at the most critical time of the year -- in College World Series action over four years -- against two losses, one in the 1998 title game.
Only two other Arizona players -- All American shortstop Julie Standering in the 1980s and All-American Toni Mascarenas in the late 1990s -- played more games in a Wildcat uniform than Evans. She did it in the circle, at third base, shortstop or second, and was a good enough batter to be the designated player numerous times.
She finished her career in a number of top-10 Arizona offensive record categories, including hits, doubles, home runs, runs batted in and walks.
Evans played on the USA National team in 1997 when her team won the gold medal in the Pan Am Games. In 1998, she went on to play overseas in Italy where she played in the European Championships. In 1999, she continued her professional career with the WPSL (Women's Professional Fastpitch League) as a member of the Tampa Bay Firestix and won a national championship.
Evans graduated from the University of Arizona in 1998 with a degree in psychology. She is engaged to Steve Fesperman.