Entering her 29th season as head softball coach at Southeast Missouri State, Lana Richmond has the longest consecutive tenure of any Southeast coach and current Ohio Valley Conference coach. Taking over the program in 1982, Richmond is only the third coach in the history of Southeast softball.
Richmond has built the program from the ground up, starting with only 2 scholarships and taking the 1991 team to the NCAA Division II Final Four. A program developed tirelessly, diligently and successfully with over 250 student-athletes who have worn the SEMO jersey for Richmond and her staff through the past three decades.
Over the past 28 seasons, Richmond has experienced unparalleled success as she has climbed the ranks to become the winningest coach in Ohio Valley Conference history and ranks among the top 20 winningest active coaches in NCAA history.
In her first ten seasons, Southeast was a Division II member, competing in the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). In Division II, Richmond led the program to four NCAA Regional tournament berths, including the 1991 NCAA Final Four. In 1986 she coached one of Southeast's most successful squads, leading them to a school record 40 wins. Her coaching efforts won her NCAA honors as the 1987 and 1990 Division II Coach of the Year.
Since joining the OVC and the ranks of Division I competition in 1992, Richmond has guided her teams to high levels of success. Her numerous awards plus her team's accolades speak for themselves. Richmond is in charge of a program that has produced nine 30-plus win seasons over the 16-year span. During this stint, she has also led her squad to one NCAA Division I Tournament berth, four OVC tournament crowns and five OVC regular-season championships. While coaching 37 All-OVC first teamers, four OVC Player of the Year recipients and two OVC Pitcher of the Year award winners, while leading Southeast to a .750 winning record in the conference.
Her achievements in coaching have not gone unnoticed by her peers, where Richmond has been honored five times as OVC Coach of the Year including the 2009 season when she was named Co-OVC Coach of the Year.
Her 29 years at the helm of the program have yielded many highlights. One such highlight occured last season, when Richmond joined the NCAA record books as just the 42nd softball coach to reach 800 career wins.
Heading into this season she ranks 18th amongst active NCAA D-I coaches in victories.
"It is about the student-athletes who have worn the Southeast uniform," Richmond said. "I have not scored a run for SEMO. They are the ones who have performed on the field. It is all about people and the relationships you build. I have only been their guide through this wonderful journey over the last 29 years."
The 1999 season marked her most successful season in Division I as Richmond led Southeast to their first NCAA Tournament berth. The squad won its first game vs. East Carolina 2-1 on May 21, 1999, making history as the first OVC team to record a victory in the NCAA Tournament.
"Each season our goal is to consistently be a contender for the conference championship. Our ticket to the NCAA's is through winning our conference tournament," noted Richmond. "Also, it is always a priority to graduate each player recruited to our program, and in 28 years, of all the players I have recruited, all but three have graduated."
This past October her team was honored for the 11th-straight year by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association as an All-Academic team. That team compiled a team grade point average of 3.15 ranking 91st nationally. From 1999-2005, her team compiled a streak of six-straight top-ten All-Academic honors. In 2002, her squad climbed to its highest ranking thus far, claiming the nation's second best GPA.
"This accomplishment is a tribute to the student-athletes and the standards they have set for themselves. This is reinforced by the priority placed on academics instilled in our program" said Richmond.
Richmond has been a member of the NFCA since 1987 and served on Division II NCAA All-American and Regional Ranking committees. She last served a two year stint on the NCAA Division One South Region Ranking Committee and the NFCA top 25.
Richmond graduated from Berea College in Berea, Ky. in 1980. Immediately after graduating, she began her coaching career at Georgetown College, before becoming the head softball and volleyball coach at Southeast. As a volleyball coach, Richmond led Southeast to a 203-91 overall record over seven seasons before choosing to concentrate solely on softball.
Richmond also served as the Senior Woman Administrator and an Assistant Athletic Director for over 20 years at Southeast before relinquishing her duties to devote more time with family and on the softball program.
"Coaching at Southeast Missouri State has been an honor and I believe it has been my calling," said Richmond. "I arrived on campus at Southeast as a young inexperienced 23-year old, barely older than some of my senior players. I am grateful Southeast has let me have this opportunity to coach and work here."
Richmond competes in half marathons throughout the year. She and husband Tim have a 18-year old daughter, Jordyn who is a member of the Cape Central Cross Country team.