As familiar as the face is patrolling the third base coach's box for Florida State University, the one across the diamond is just as recognizable to Seminole loyalist. Now in her ninth season at Florida State, associate head coach Louie Berndt is part of one of the top, and longest running, coaching tandems in the country.
Berndt joined the Florida State staff for the second time -- previously she had a one year stint in 1989 -- in 1999 after six seasons as the dugout boss at Marshall University. Following the Seminoles' run to the 2004 Women's College World Series, Berndt was bestowed with the new title of associate head coach.
In 24 years of coaching, Berndt has been to 11 NCAA Tournaments, including eight at Florida State, and a pair of Women's College World Series. At her four different stops, she has helped coach 15 All-Americans and 29 All Region selections.
Berndt works mainly with the Florida State hitters and outfielders and serves as the Tribe's recruiting coordinator. Since her return, the Seminole softball program has landed six NFCA All-Americans including USA Softball National Player of the Year and Honda Award winner Jessica van der Linden. Three of FSU's recruits have been named ACC Rookie of the Year in her tenure (van der Linden, Veronica Wootson and Tiffany McDonald) with van der Linden becoming the first back-to- back ACC Player of the Year.
On top of her recruiting expertise, Berndt's coaching of the FSU hitters and outfi elders has paid dividends as well. In 2004, Florida State shattered the single season home run record and all fi ve of the highest single season HR totals have all come since Berndt returned to FSU in 1999. In 2004, the squad also set new records for RBIs, runs and walks. Three of FSU's seven all-time highest batting averages have come under Berndt's guidance and the team has fi nished among the NCAA leaders in that category in two of the last four seasons. In 2004, FSU finished seventh in the nation in triples per game and 17th in scoring offense.
Florida State's offense enjoyed a resurgence in 2006 as the Seminoles surpassed many of the numbers put up by the 2002 and 2004 World Series teams. New single-season records were established for at-bats, doubles and home runs, while Florida State's 29 triples was the second-highest total in the nation last year. Left fi elder Natasha Jacob earned Third-Team All-America honors from Easton-Bell Sports and was joined on the All-ACC team by right fi elder LaShaun Davis. Jacob ended her career ranked sixth in ACC history with 271 hits and eighth at 69 stolen bases to go along with FSU Top 10 rankings in eight offensive categories.
Berndt came to FSU after serving as the head softball coach at Marshall for six seasons. She was brought to Marshall to help jumpstart the softball program, which was reinstated in 1993. In 1994, Berndt made her head-coaching debut and guided the Thundering Herd to a 17-21 record. One year later she led Marshall to its fi rst Southern Conference Tournament title and NCAA Tournament. She was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year in 1996 after the squad set numerous school records with a 39-23 record. Her career record was 143-154 in Huntington, W.Va. Several of Berndt's players at Marshall received All-Conference accolades, including back-to-back freshman "Player of the Year" honors.
Berndt is a graduate of Western Michigan University, where she was a two-time All-American at second base. She led the Broncos to three NCAA Tournament bids, including two World Series berths where her squad fi nished fi fth in 1982. During her Western Michigan career, Berndt's teams won 132 games. The team leader in hitting three straight seasons, Berndt had a career .321 batting average and .973 fielding percentage and she set the record at WMU for hits in a season.
An All-Mid American Conference and NCAA All-Region selection, Berndt was also invited to the Pan American Team tryouts and was selected to play in the Tri-Nation Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., during her senior year. A two-sport athlete at Western Michigan, having lettered three times in basketball, she was inducted into the Western Michigan Hall of Fame in 2003.
In 1985, Berndt turned her efforts to coaching as an assistant at Nicholls State. She helped lead NSU to a school record 47 wins that year. In 1987, the Colonels won the Gulf Star Conference Championship. Berndt joined the FSU staff as a pitching and outfi eld coach for the 1989 season. She helped the Seminoles to a Top 20 ranking and a second-place finish at the Southwest Regional. Then in 1990 she returned to the north as an assistant at Ohio State. During her fi rst year the Buckeyes won their only Big Ten Championship and advanced to just their fourth NCAA Tournament.
A native of Dearborn, Mich., Berndt earned a bachelor's degree in recreation and leisure studies from Western Michigan in 1983. She added a bachelor's degree in education from Nicholls State in 1985.