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ISU softball coach gets contract extension after breakthrough season

Jun 05, 2023

Indiana State head softball coach Mike Perniciaro talks to his team at the start of practice earlier this year at Price Field.

Coach Mike Perniciaro and his Indiana State softball team left an impression on the Missouri Valley Conference this spring.

ISU finished its 2023 season with a records of 35-25 overall and 17-10 in the conference. The Sycamores set program records for regular-seasons wins with 32 and MVC regular-season wins with 17.

In the MVC postseason tournament, they beat Valparaiso, Murray State and top-seeded Northern Iowa, giving the Panthers their lone loss to a conference opponent. ISU finished as the MVC tournament runner-up, losing the championship to Southern Illinois, but shaking up the norm after the Sycamores were picked in a preseason poll to finish eighth in the MVC.

On Wednesday, the ISU Athletic Department announced a contract extension for Perniciaro.

Perniciaro's extension will run through spring of 2027. Last season was his sixth season at ISU.

"I am pleased with the leadership Mike has built into this program," Indiana State Athletic Director Sherard Clinkscales said in a news release from the ISU sports information office. "This was a tough job, but his infusive positivity and talented staff laid the groundwork for a championship level team. I am grateful that Coach Perniciaro, Shannon, Nick and Alex will be a part of the Sycamore family and Vigo County community for years to come."

Known as "Coach Pooch," Perniciaro just completed one of the best seasons in Indiana State softball history in 2023. The Sycamores returned to the MVC tournament championship game for the first time since 2015.

Five ISU players made the postseason All-Conference team and two players made the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Region squad for the third consecutive year.

Prior to the surprising conference tournament run, ISU reeled off 10 victories in a 12-game stretch, including wins over Pitt and Purdue. The Sycamores went into the postseason on a tear, winning seven of their last eight contests before heading to Carbondale for the tournament.

Abi Chipps, Danielle Henning, Isabella Henning, Olivia Patton, and Annie Tokarek garnered All-MVC honors in 2023. Isabella Henning and Tokarek also received NFCA Mideast All-Region honors for the season.

Perniciaro said he's grateful for the administration's support and added, "It is an honor to lead this team and I am looking forward to more success in the future."

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