The 2006 season was Sue Enquist’s 18th and final campaign as head coach of the Bruin softball program. It was her 27th year as part of UCLA’s softball coaching staff and her 30th year of involvement with the program as either a coach or player.
Sue Enquist interviewed on The Fastpitch TV Show
Produced By Gary Leland
It was Enquist’s 10th season as the sole head coach for the Bruins. Enquist took over that role beginning with the 1997 season, following the retirement of longtime Bruin mentor Sharron Backus. The two served as co-head coaches from 1989-96.
Before being named co-head coach, Enquist coached nine seasons (1980-88) as an assistant under Backus. As a student-athlete playing for Backus, Enquist led UCLA to its first National Championship in softball, a 1978 AIAW title. Enquist was the tournament’s leading hitter as UCLA won its first softball National Championship.
Enquist then served as a member of the UCLA coaching staff for 10 NCAA Championships, the most of any school. The NCAA brought women’s sports under its umbrella beginning with the 1981-82 academic year. UCLA won that inaugural NCAA softball championship, and has since played in a record 17 championship games or series, winning titles in 1982, ’84, ’85, ’88, ’89, ’90, ’92, ’99, 2003 and ’04
After graduating high school in December of 1974, Enquist went on to play four seasons for Backus from 1975-78, Enquist became the prototypical player for Bruin softball in terms of attitude, desire and will to win. UCLA’s first softball All-American, Enquist led the Bruins in doubles three times and twice led UCLA in batting average and triples.
Enquist established the UCLA career batting average record with an impressive .401 mark, and was the first Bruin to complete her career with a batting average over .400. That career batting average record stood for 24 years, until Stacey Nuveman completed her illustrious career in 2002. Enquist’s No. 6 jersey was retired on April 29, 2000, becoming the third number in Bruin softball history to be retired, joining the No. 16 of Lisa Fernandez and No. 1 of Dot Richardson.
A three-time ASA All-American for the Raybestos Braketts, Enquist helped lead that team to four ASA National Championships in 1976, ’77, ’78 and ’80. She also enjoyed success as a player at the international level, earning gold medals at three National Sports Festivals, the 1978 World Championships and the 1979 Pan American Games.
Enquist earned her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from UCLA in 1980. A native of San Clemente, Calif., Enquist surfed professionally from 1979-81 and continues to be an avid surfer. She currently resides in Huntington Beach, Calif.
The following is a list of Enquist’s accomplishments and honors:
• Enquist was awarded the 2004 C. Vivian Stringer Coaching Award by the United States Sports Academy for her accomplishments at UCLA. The award pays tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sports, and is named in honor of C. Vivian Stringer, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer who is the only coach to take three different schools to the Final Four.
• In December, 2005, Enquist was announced as a Hall of Fame Inductee by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
• Enquist and the Bruin coaching staff earned the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) National Coaching Staff of the Year award following the 2004 season. She was also named the National Coach of the Year in 1992.
• The Bruin coaching staff was chosen as the 2000 and 2004 NFCA Pacific Region Coaching Staff of the Year. The Bruin staff also received the Regional honor in 1991 and ’92.
• She is a three-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year, earning the honor in 1995, ’99 and 2006.
• Enquist was the first softball inductee to the UCLA Hall of Fame, as a member of the Class of 1993. There are currently seven Bruin softball players in the Hall of Fame, including Enquist, Debbie Doom, Dot Richardson, Sheila (Cornell) Douty, Tracy Compton, Lisa Longaker and Lisa Fernandez. Former head coach Sharron Backus was inducted in 2001, her first year of eligibility.
• As one of eight softball coaches chosen to work with the U.S. National Team, Enquist was involved in the preparation of the gold medal winning U.S. Olympic Team for the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, Ga., the inaugural Games for softball as an Olympic medal sport.
• Enquist was the head coach of the 1993 Olympic Festival Championship team, and coached the USA Pre Elite National Team in July, 1994.
• She was also a member of the coaching staff for the gold medal winning 1994 World Championship team, contested in Canada.
• Enquist was among the list of “20th Century Bruins” put together by UCLA Magazine at the close of 1999.
• During Enquist’s tenure as co-head coach and head coach (1989-2006), 32 players earned 58 All-American honors.
• Enquist was UCLA’s first All-American, earning the honor in 1978 after being named All-Region in 1976, ’77 and ’78.
• Seven former Bruins participated with the gold medal-winning 2000 U.S. Olympic Team. All seven (Christie Ambrosi, Jennifer Brundage, Sheila Cornell Douty, Lisa Fernandez, Stacey Nuveman, Dot Richardson and alternate Amanda Freed) were coached by Enquist during their UCLA careers.
• Five Bruins, again all coached by Enquist, won gold medals at the Athens Olympics in 2004, including Fernandez, Freed, Tairia (Mims) Flowers, Nuveman, and Natasha Watley.
• All of UCLA’s current coaches (head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez, assistants Lisa Fernandez and Gina Vecchione and volunteer assistant Natasha Watley) are UCLA graduates and were coached by Enquist during their Bruin careers.
• Completed a series of 20 instructional videos, released following the 2003 collegiate season.
• Partnered with former UCLA and MLB catcher and current Detroit Tigers hitting coach Don Slaught on the RightViewPro hitting instructional software.
• Invented the SB401 training bat and the Kwik-Slide Sliding Wrap
• Inducted into the Capistrano Unified School District Hall of Fame in October, 2000.
• Enquist has 1,314 wins in her Bruin softball career as a player and coach, combined.