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ND Softball: Gumpf continues to lead Irish in 12th season

Katie Heit | Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Entering her 12th season with the Irish, Deanna Gumpf continues to assert her dominance as one of the top coaches in college softball.

Senior catcher Amy Buntin said playing under Gumpf’s tutelage is a unique opportunity she and her teammates are privileged to experience.

“Playing under Coach Gumpf is a great opportunity not many players are lucky enough to experience,” Buntin said. “She has greatly helped not only my development as a player but also as a person. It is easy to see how much Coach Gumpf cares about her players.”

Gumpf has led the Irish (2-2) to 11 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament and has claimed four Big East Tournament titles. A native of La Palma, Calif., Gumpf played college softball at Nebraska and graduated with a degree in business management. After graduation, she pursued a career in business before returning to the sport. For two years, Gumpf coached at Long Beach State before a position opened at Notre Dame.

Since she joined the Irish, the Notre Dame coaching staff has received various honors, including the NFCA Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year award twice and the Big East Coaching Staff of the Year award in 2002, 2004 and 2011.

Buntin said Gumpf makes sure she shapes her players’ mental drive as well as their physical ability.

“Sure we do drills and drills and more drills, but we also take time to assess our mental game which plays an important role in our sport,” Buntin said.
Buntin said she also learned to be a fighter from Gumpf. In 2010, Gumpf’s 4-year-old daughter Tatum was diagnosed with leukemia. Buntin said Gumpf “never stopped fighting through the whole process.”

“She never gave up faith,” Buntin said. “She stayed positive, which showed me how positivity can have a big impact on life in general.”

Due to Tatum’s illness, the Irish “Strike Out Cancer” game has been dedicated toward finding a cure for lymphoblastic leukemia.

Buntin said because of Gumpf’s influence on the mental, physical and spiritual aspects of each of her players, Buntin believes this will be the best season in her four years on the Irish squad.

“We have everything we need to take this program where it’s never gone before,” Gumpf said. “I’ve seen it every day in practice. Now it’s just a matter of executing it on the field.”

The Irish next take the field Friday against Washington at noon in San Diego.

Contact Katie Heit at [email protected]