Story by William Penn Sports Information
OSKALOOSA, Iowa -- Mike Christner took over a solid William Penn (Iowa) softball program in 2002 and has since elevated it into a national power.
Winning 500 games in 12-plus campaigns is just another testament to how perennially strong the diamond squad has been. Christner, who is currently 501-235 (.681 winning percentage), picked up his 500th win last Saturday (April 5) in a doubleheader sweep against Clarke (Iowa).
The winningest skipper in program history, his teams have finished at least seven games over .500 every year, including going 51-22 in 2005. Entering this spring, WPU has averaged 40.1 wins per campaign and has been even more impressive in Midwest Collegiate Conference play with a 202-55 mark (.786 winning percentage). The Statesmen have won at least 32 games each year and have had five 40-win seasons and one 50-victory year.
Heading into 2014, Christner ranked 20th in the NAIA in total wins among active coaches.
It has not just been victories however that the navy and gold have collected over the past dozen seasons. Six MCC regular-season titles, three MCC Tournament crowns, two NAIA Region VII championships, and three NAIA Nationals appearances have highlighted Christner's tenure.
A total of 61 players have earned all-MCC laurels with four being named league Player of the Year and six earning MCC Pitcher of the Year laurels, including William Penn Assistant Coach and Mike's daughter Steph Christner back in 2005. A five-time MCC Coach of the Year, Christner has guided 15 individuals to some form of All-America recognition at his alma mater (1985 graduate).
Christner's teams have been a common fixture in the nation's top 25 or at least receiving votes. Currently 20-11 (8-4 MCC), the 2014 version is 28th in the NAIA.