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2011 Softball Fall Ball
On July 14, 2008, Matt Meuchel became the fourth head coach in the history of the University of Nevada softball program and the second since the program was reinstated in 2003.
In 2013, the Pack program returned to its winning ways under Meuchel. The team won 30 games for the first time since 2009 and threatend almost every offensive record in the book, breaking three of them. Nevada set new records in doubles 102, leading the country with 1.96 per game, slugging percentage at .477 and on-base percentage at .399.
With its hire, the Wolf Pack gained a young, energetic coach with a penchant for hard work, solid recruiting and building a family-style program. And Nevada knew exactly what it was getting because Meuchel had been an integral part of the building of the softball program in Reno after the sport was reinstated with the start of the 2003 season.
"This is absolutely the dream job for me," Meuchel said at the time of his hiring. "To be able to be on the ground floor of this program back in 2003 and help shape the vision of the program was a great opportunity. To now have the chance to return to the program and take it to the next level on the national scene is more than I could ever ask for. I am thrilled for this opportunity and for the chance to return to Reno and the great softball community here."
In his first season, Meuchel took a program that he had helped shape and he put his own stamp on it in 2009. The Wolf Pack set a number of hitting and pitching records as Meuchel delivered the program's second-straight Western Athletic Conference championship as Nevada tied for the crown with Fresno State. Nevada also advanced to the NCAA Regional in Palo Alto, Calif., where Meuchel captured his first-ever and the program's third NCAA victory with a win over Cal Poly in the first round of the Regional.
"I believe the 2009 season and the success our softball program achieved on and off the field shows that Matt is one of the finest young coaches in the country," Nevada athletics director Cary Groth said. "We're very proud of what our program has accomplished and the direction in which Matt is leading for the future."
Meuchel brought a decade of college coaching experience to Reno as he has worked as a student assistant coach, volunteer assistant coach, assistant coach, associate head coach and recruiting coordinator during his career. His coaching career has taken him from the Southwest (Arizona State) to the South (McNeese State) back to the West (Nevada) to the Midwest (Oklahoma State) back home to the West again.
And in that time, Meuchel has earned a reputation as a hard-nosed recruiter with a keen eye for talent and a hard-working coach with a vast knowledge of the game. During his previous stint on the Nevada coaching staff, Meuchel coached or recruited nearly every one of the Wolf Pack's All-WAC players. He rose to the title of associate head coach during the 2006 season, which culminated in the program's first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Meuchel's interest in softball began in his native Missoula, Montana, where his parents, Mary and Dennis, have been involved with coaching and instruction of softball for nearly three decades.
Meuchel's collegiate coaching career began at Arizona State, where he was the Sun Devils' summer camp director from 1997 until 2000 and where he served as the team manager for three seasons. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology from Arizona State in 2000 and worked the 2001 season as a volunteer assistant coach for then-head coach Linda Wells. His responsibilities in Tempe included coaching the outfielders and coordinating video analysis. While with Arizona State, the Sun Devils reached as high as the No. 6 spot in the national rankings and advanced to the semifinal game of the Region III Tournament.
While at Arizona State, he coached ASA (American Softball Association) 18-Gold Softball for three years. He worked with a pair of club teams and saw a number of players go on to the collegiate level to play for some of the top programs in the country, including: Arizona, Arizona State, Texas A&M, Indiana and Nevada.
After the 2001 season with Arizona State, Meuchel spent one season (2002) as an assistant coach at McNeese State in Lake Charles, La. With the Cowgirls, he served as the team's recruiting coordinator and infield coach, in addition to in-game coaching and other administrative duties.
Meuchel came to Nevada in the summer of 2002 after he was hired by new head coach Michelle Gardner to resurrect the softball program, which had been dormant since 1989. On the field, Meuchel's primary duties included working with the infield and serving as the hitting coach. Off the field, his larger charge as recruiting coordinator was to bring the best and brightest student-athletes on the West Coast to Reno to build a national-caliber program.
And Meuchel did just that. As the program grew, so did the level of talent on the Wolf Pack roster and the production from the players. With each season came a new round of school records and new levels of accomplishment. And every time Meuchel hit the recruiting trail, he sold recruits on the potential and promise of Nevada. At the time, the Wolf Pack had no home facility and was playing home games at a city park.
"We're fortunate to have a great on-campus facility that our players and program can call 'home,'" Meuchel said. "It takes a lot of work to build a program and the Wolf Pack program has come a long way since our first season in 2003. But there are new heights that we feel we can achieve and we are working in that direction."
In the summer of 2004, Meuchel got a taste of Olympic-level softball as he worked with the Greek Olympic Softball Team. He was part of the team's coaching staff for its United States and European Tours and also during the 2004 Summer Games in Athens. He served as a first-base coach among his many duties, which also included scouting the team's Olympic foes.
In 2006, Meuchel and the Pack reached a new height for the program as Nevada ran through the Western Athletic Conference Tournament to win its first-ever WAC title. The program finished with a 38-28 overall record - the most victories in school history, at that time. With the WAC Tournament victory came an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament as the Pack advanced to the Regional hosted by Oregon State.
Following that season, Meuchel accepted a job at Oklahoma State with the Cowgirls first-year head coach Rich Wieligman. He worked at Oklahoma State in 2007 and 2008 and worked primarily with the defense and in recruiting. In 2008, Meuchel helped guide Oklahoma State to their most Big 12 wins since 2003 and their best overall record in the past 11 years.
During his two years in Stillwater, Meuchel recruited or coached five All-Big 12 Conference selections, two NFCA first-team All-Midwest Region honorees. and one NFCA third-team All-American. The Cowgirls also had eight All-Big 12 Academic Team selections who were coached or recruited by Meuchel.
Meuchel was married in the summer of 2009 to the former Joey Hall, a former Nevada softball assistant coach. The couple makes their home in Sparks.