The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has awarded UAH softball coach Les Stuedeman the first-ever Title IX Trailblazer Award. Chuck Karr, UAH interim president, participated at the softball game against the Montevallo Falcons and the first pitch was thrown by Huntsville Mayor Loretta Spencer.
The Title IX Trailblazer Award was designed to recognize someone who has made a significant impact for women on campus. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the enactment of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The passing of Title IX granted women athletes the equal opportunity to participate in sports at educational institutions that receive federal funds. Great strides have been made since then, including on campus with Stuedeman.
“If the law wasn’t enacted, my parents couldn’t have gone to the school board and ask for women’s sports to be implemented,” Stuedeman said.
Coach Stuedeman became the first softball coach at UAH in 1995. Since then, the Chargers have never had a losing season, appearing in 13 Gulf South Conference Championship games – winning eight titles. Stuedeman’s teams hold an all-time GSC tournament record of 71-32 – the best mark in the conference and earned a berth to the NCAA softball tournament 22 times.
Under Stuedeman’s direction, the team has captured four South Region titles (1999, 2001, 2009 and 2011). In 2009 and 2011, she guided the Chargers to the brink of a national championship, finishing as the Division II Softball World Series runner-up both seasons. In 2010, the Chargers were selected as the decade’s top softball program.
Overall, the team boasts 42 All-Americans, 10 GSC Players or Pitchers of the Year and eight Freshmen of the Year.
“Relative to the campus, (success) looks like these girls graduating, these girls finding ways to connect to each other through a game that they love and as a way to help them get through college and learn so many life lessons that are going to be really powerful for them in the workforce and in family life,” Stuedeman said.
Stuedeman was named GSC East Division Coach of the Decade in 2010 and 2020. She has been named the GSU Coach of the Year 10 times.
She was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual conference in 2014. She is in the Vestavia Hills High School Sports Hall of Fame and the Huntingdon College Athletic Hall of Fame. Additionally, she was inducted to the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018.
Before starting her career at UAH, Stuedeman coached one year at Hewitt-Trussville High School (1994-95) and was named the Jefferson County Coach of the Year. Prior to coaching high school, Stuedeman was an assistant for two seasons at the University of West Alabama, where she also earned a master’s degree in Education. She obtained her bachelor’s in Social Science from Huntingdon College.
“Find a job you love and never work a day. This is team 27 for me and when you get to a place where you love and you don’t feel like you’re working, you know, you stay loyal and you stay there,” Stuedeman said.
For more information about UAH softball, visit https://uahchargers.com/sports/softball.