Courtesy of Nevada Athletics- 

RENO, Nev. – NFCA All-American and 2020 Olympic bronze medalist Victoria Hayward has been named the 10th head coach of the Nevada Softball program, University of Nevada Athletic Director Stephanie Rempe announced Thursday.

Hayward, with a decade of collegiate coaching experience and a storied playing career, brings a profound respect for the sport and an infectious love of the game to Nevada. She spent the 2024 campaign as an assistant at her alma mater, Washington, where the Huskies elevated their play to a 32-15 overall record, finishing third in the Pac-12 and making the program’s 30th consecutive NCAA Regional. The Washington offense was among the best in the West, leading the Pac-12 in both batting average (.303) and slugging (.537).

Before her impactful return to Seattle, Hayward was a leader on the San Diego State staff for two seasons (2022-23), serving as associate head coach in her final year. Under her guidance, the Aztecs soared to the Mountain West tournament title and came within a game of the Women’s College World Series. San Diego State captured the Los Angeles Regional with three-straight wins to reach the first Super Regional in program history, where the Aztecs battled valiantly against host Utah, falling in the decisive third game. Over Hayward’s tenure, the Aztecs achieved a remarkable 78-33 overall record, won two Mountain West titles (2022 regular season, 2023 tournament), and reached two NCAA Regionals and a Super Regional.

“Victoria Hayward is an extraordinary leader who will bring a championship mindset to our program” said Rempe. “Victoria has coached and played with some of the best in the sport. Her competitive spirit and passion for the game will create a culture of excellence and elevate our program to new heights. I cannot wait to see the dramatic impact she will have on Nevada Softball and softball throughout the northern Nevada community.”

Hayward’s coaching pedigree is built on a foundation of success at the sport’s highest levels. The 2014 first-team All-American began her coaching career as a graduate assistant at LSU under the mentorship of head coach Beth Torina in 2015. During her time there, the Tiger unit was named the Division I South Region Staff of the Year by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) following a stellar 52-14 season and a third-place finish at the Women’s College World Series. Hayward was again recognized as part of an award-winning staff in 2023 when the San Diego State staff earned the NFCA West Region honor.

At San Diego State, Hayward’s expertise helped propel Mac Barbara to NFCA third-team All-American status, all-NFCA first-team west region honors, and the title of Mountain West Player of the Year in 2022. Barbara’s impressive stats under Hayward’s tutelage included a .395 batting average, 18 home runs, and a .802 slugging percentage.

Hayward’s coaching journey also includes valuable stints at UMass (2016-17), Maryland (2018), and UCF as director of operations in 2019, further showcasing her ability to elevate every program she joins.

“I am deeply grateful to President Sandoval, Athletic Director Stephanie Rempe, and [Nevada SWA and Softball sport administrator] Casey Stangel entrusting me with this incredible opportunity,” Hayward said. “The Reno and Northern Nevada community embodies a spirit of passion and hard work, and I am honored to be a part of it. My goal is to not only compete for Mountain West championships but to also develop strong, confident women who will go on to be the next generation of leaders in our communities.”

On the field, Hayward’s legacy is equally impressive. She holds the distinction of being the youngest person named to Canada’s Senior National Team at just 16. Born in Toronto and raised in the United States, Hayward’s international career began early and included standout performances at the 2009 World Cup of Softball and the 2010 WBSC Junior World Championship. She earned silver medals for Canada at the 2011 and 2019 Pan-Am Games and was a key player on Canada’s 2020 Olympic Team, which earned a bronze medal in Tokyo.

“Victoria Hayward has a proven record as a highly accomplished coach and player in the world of collegiate softball, including winning a bronze medal as a member of the Canadian National Team during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” University of Nevada President Brian Sandoval said. “Her experience as a coach at several successful collegiate softball programs – including in the Mountain West Conference – means that she will hit the ground running in this new and exciting chapter of Wolf Pack softball. Victoria has played instrumental roles in programs where coaching staff and player cohesion have been quite notable. She brings with her a clear vision of what Wolf Pack softball will be on the playing field, in the classroom and with our community. I enthusiastically wish to welcome her to The Wolf Pack Family.”

At Washington, Hayward’s collegiate career was marked by excellence, earning All-Pac-12 honors each of her four seasons, including First Team accolades as a junior and senior. In 2014, she was named to the NFCA All-America First Team, leading the Pac-12 with 28 stolen bases and pacing the Huskies in batting average (.408), at-bats (157), runs (47), and hits (64) while starting all 52 games. Her leadership helped the Huskies win four NCAA Regionals and reach the WCWS in 2013.

With Victoria Hayward at the helm, Nevada Softball is poised to soar, embracing a culture of excellence, passion, and respect for the game.

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