Associate head coach Carol Bruggeman is entering her ninth year at the University of Louisville. In her time at Louisville, Bruggeman has helped guide the Cardinals to three BIG EAST Conference Championships and eight straight NCAA appearances. During her tenure at UofL, the Cards have produced 54 All-BIG EAST selections, 16 All-Region team members, eight All-Americans and three conference Player or Pitchers of the Year.
In 2013, Bruggeman helped guide the Cardinals to a 47-13 overall record, marking the eighth time Louisville has recorded 40 or more wins and the 10th straight season with 30 or more wins. The Cards reached several milestones in 2013 including tying program highs in the national coaches polls, appearing at No. 7 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and No. 8 in the USA Today/NFCA poll - they went on to spend four weeks among the nation's top 10. Louisville also posted its first win over a top-ranked team when it defeated No. 1 Oklahoma 5-1 in Norman and remained one of only four teams to beat the eventual national champion.
On March 23, 2013, the Cardinals defeated Indiana 4-1 at Ulmer Stadium to give Bruggeman her 700th career victory. She has averaged 36 wins per season in her career spanning 20 years.
In 2012, Bruggeman was an integral member of the BIG EAST and National Fastpitch Coaches Association Great Lakes Region Coaching Staffs of the Year after leading the Cards to a program-best 55-5 record. Louisville captured the BIG EAST regular season and tournament titles and earned the overall No. 15 seed in the NCAA tournament in their ninth straight tournament appearance. UofL spent the majority of the season ranked in the top 10 of the ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association coaches' polls, appearing as high as Nos. 7 and 9 respectively. The Cardinals finished the 2012 season with a program-best fielding percentage of .975, which ranked 14th nationally.
The 2012 Cardinals also picked up several individual accolades: Taner Fowler and Tori Collins earned NFCA All-America honors, while five players were selected to the All-Great Lake Region teams and a program-best nine players earned All-BIG EAST honors.
On March 20, 2011, the Cards' 9-1 victory over Ohio State marked Bruggeman's 600th career win in her 18th year as a head or associate head coach. By the season's end, she helped guide the Cardinals to a 38-20 overall record - the eighth straight season of 30 or more wins. In 2011, Louisville posted a runner-up finish in the BIG EAST Conference Championship and hosted an NCAA regional for the second time in three years. The Cardinals accomplished those feats with four freshmen and seven underclassmen in the starting lineup after an injury-plagued season.
The 2010 Cardinals posted a 41-19 overall record and reached their seventh consecutive NCAA appearance, advancing to the regional finals before falling to eventual Women's College World Series participant Tennessee in Knoxville. The Cards also finished runner-up in the BIG EAST Conference championship behind the leadership of 2010 BIG EAST Player of the Year third baseman Chelsea Bemis and two-time All-American catcher Melissa Roth. The Cardinals posted a .973 fielding percentage, which placed them at 20th in the nation.
In 2009, the Cardinals produced a banner season in which they set school records for wins (48), runs (320) and batting average (.320). Louisville reached as high as No. 14 a then-program best, and served as an NCAA regional site for the first time in school history. Also in 2009, Bruggeman achieved her 500th career win on Feb. 14 when the Cards defeated Nevada 3-2 in the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic.
In her first season at Louisville, she was an integral member of the 2006 BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year, helping guide the Cardinals to a 45-11 record and the BIG EAST regular season title. In 2006, the Cardinals also achieved their first national ranking and finished the season at No. 17 in the NFCA Coaches poll and No. 18 in the USA Softball rankings after advancing to the NCAA regional finals. The Cardinal defense was ranked 23rd nationally with a then program-best team defensive fielding percentage of .971. Also in 2006, Bruggeman achieved her 400th career win.
She followed that by helping guide the Cardinals to the 2007 BIG EAST Conference tournament title marking the first time in program history that Louisville earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
As UofL's first associate head coach Bruggeman is responsible for recruiting and works primarily with the defense, and also assists with offense, game preparation, coordinates team leadership meetings and summer and winter softball camps.
"Carol brings a great deal of experience and knowledge of the game and we are fortunate to have a coach of her caliber on our staff," said UofL head coach Sandy Pearsall. "Carol is instrumental in our progress toward our goal of reaching the Women's College World Series."
Bruggeman came to Louisville from Purdue, where she started the Boilermaker softball program and was the head coach from 1994 to 2005. She guided the team to a 21-17-1 inaugural season in 1994 posting the best first-year record in Big Ten history. Her teams posted 30 or more wins in nine of her last 10 seasons at Purdue. With Bruggeman at the helm, Purdue had 23 All Big Ten Selections, 24 All-Mideast Region Selections and one National Fastpitch Coaches Association First Team All-American.
"I was presented with an incredible professional opportunity at the University of Louisville," said Bruggeman. "The administration at Louisville has made an unbelievable commitment to creating an exceptional environment for Louisville softball, where student-athletes can thrive and succeed at the highest level."
Prior to working at Purdue, Bruggeman was an assistant coach at Michigan from 1989 to 1993. During that time, the Wolverines won back-to-back Big Ten championships in 1992 and 1993. Michigan earned NCAA tournament bids both years, marking the first postseason trips in program history.
Bruggeman began her coaching career as a graduate assistant at her alma mater Iowa. As a player for the Hawkeyes, she earned All-Big Ten and All-Mideast Region honors as an infielder. She was also an Academic All-American, a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and received Iowa's Athletic Academic Medal of Honor. In 1997, Bruggeman was inducted into the Iowa Softball Association Hall of Fame.
Bruggeman's expertise has also been recognized by her peers. In 2010, she completed a four-year term as president of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and in 2012, completed a two-year term as Past-President on the NFCA Executive Board. She was also the national Division I representative for the NFCA from 1996-2000. In 2007, she was selected to be an instructor for the National Fastpitch Coach College and teaches various NFCA courses throughout the country. In conjunction with her coaching duties, Bruggeman has been a featured speaker at more than 125 national softball clinics and professional business organizations.
In 2013, she wrote a chapter entitled "Understanding Today's Player" for the NFCA book, `The Softball Coaches Bible, Volume 2.' She also co-wrote a chapter entitled `Warm-up Drills for Softball' included in "The Softball Drill Book" which was published in 2007. In 2002, Bruggeman wrote a chapter entitled "Competing with Class" for the NFCA Book, "The Softball Coaches Bible." She also served as the color analyst for Fox Sports Chicago's television coverage of the 2002 Big Ten Softball Tournament. Bruggeman also co-produced instructional DVDs with UofL's Director of Sports Performance Teena Murray on softball specific athlete development and has produced Level 1 and Level 2 instructional videos on baserunning and defense.
In July 2011, Bruggeman traveled to Australia as head coach of the college team which won the Gold Medal with USA-Athletes International. She also traveled to the Czech Republic in 2009 in the same role.
"Carol did a tremendous job in starting the program at Purdue and helped the program become a strong presence in the Big Ten," said Pearsall. "She was an assistant under two NFCA Hall of Fame coaches in Michigan's Carol Hutchins and Iowa's Gayle Blevins, two of the premier coaches in the country."
A native of Charter Oak, Iowa, Bruggeman received her bachelor's degree in accounting and business from Iowa in 1987 and continued her education at Iowa, earning a master's in athletic administration and coaching in 1990.