Montclair State University head softball coach and longtime mentor Anita Kubicka earned the highest honor a coach can achieve when she was elected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class of 2015.
The announcement was made at the conclusion of the NFCA Hall of Fame banquet and reception on December 5 at the organization's national convention in Las Vegas. Kubicka will be inducted at the 2015 NFCA National Convention in Atlanta, GA in December. She will be enshrined along with Joe Evans of Texas A&M University and Auburn University's Clint Meyers.
Kubicka's selection marks the third different Hall of Fame election for the Red Hawk head coach, who was inducted into the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Montclair State Athletic Hall of Fame this past October.
Entering her 25th season at the Red Hawk helm in 2015, Kubicka has fashioned an impressive coaching resume – 796 victories, the most in Montclair State University's athletic history, and a .742 winning percentage – both which rank her in the Top 10 among active coaches in Division III.
Her teams have won 30-plus games sixteen times, including 12 of the last 15 campaigns, and she has led the Red Hawks to 14 NCAA Tournaments overall. Those 14 appearances include five trips to the national championship tournament, where in 1997 Montclair State finished as the runner-up in1997 and in third-place in 1992 and 2012. Montclair State has also won seven ECAC championships under Kubicka's watch. She has also earned several NJAC and NFCA Regional Coach of the Year honors.
For the last four seasons few teams have enjoyed the success of Kubicka's teams. During that span, the Red Hawks captured 82 percent of their games posting a 159-34 record that included three straight 40-win campaigns. Montclair State won the NJAC championship in 2013 and reached the NCAA Division III Softball Championship in 2012, 2013 and 2014 -- the first program to reach the national finals three straight years since baseball had a run of five consecutive World Series appearances in the 1980s. Montclair State set the single-season mark for wins twice (44 in 2012 and 46 in 2013) and ranked in the Top 10 of NFCA national poll, including several weeks at No. 1 during the 2013 season.
During the 2007 and 2008 seasons, no team in the New Jersey Athletic Conference was better than Kubicka's Red Hawks, which registered an impressive 34-2 record during that time. In 2008, Montclair State put together its best conference season in program history. The University did not lose a single league game during the regular season, posting an 18-0 mark that made it just the second NJAC squad in league annals to accomplish that feat. In addition to its second straight regular-season crown, Montclair State also captured the NJAC Tournament winning twice on the final day to earn its first conference championship since 1997 and its third overall.
Montclair State completed 2008 with a 43-6 record, setting the school record for victories at the time and Kubicka and her staff were rewarded with Coaching Staff of the Year honors from both the NJAC and the NFCA. Kubicka was also honored by the New Jersey Sportswriters Association in January of 2009. The following year she was presented with one of the two Honor Awards at the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (NJAIAW) National Girls and Women in Sport Day Celebration.
Kubicka came to Montclair State in 1991 and a year later had the Red Hawks in the NCAA Division III Softball Championship as the University made a "Cinderella" run to a third-place showing. Earning the final berth into the 1992 Regional Tournament, Montclair State lost its first game, but went on to win the next four -- including three on the final day to earn a trip to Pella, Iowa. Four years later, the University returned to the national final and reached the championship game in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The Red Hawks came within a run of claiming the national title before falling to Simpson College, 2-1.
Kubicka became the all-time winning coach during the 1997 season, surpassing Willie Rucker for the top spot with her 210th victory, a 3-2 triumph against Rowan in the NCAA Regional Tournament. She joins recently retired baseball coach Norm Schoenig and basketball coach Ollie Gelston as the only Montclair State coaches to win 300 contests. Kubicka collected her 500th victory in April 2006, as the University topped Richard Stockton, 4-3. Her 600th victory came four years later in 2010 and she reached the 700-win mark in 2012 when Montclair State blanked Ramapo 5-0 in the opening round of the NJAC Softball Championship.
But Kubicka's legacy in Montclair State softball history goes beyond the records and accolades on the field.
She played a major role in the construction of the Montclair State Softball stadium that gave her team a first-class facility that matched it success on the field. The stadium opened in 2004 to rave reviews and is one of the premier softball-only complexes in the East Region. The stadium served as the home to the NY/NJ Juggernaut of the National Pro Fastpitch in 2004 and in May 2009 it was the site for the NCAA Division III Softball Championship. It marked the first time that Montclair State hosted a national championship tournament and it was the first appearance in the East by the tournament in 20 years.
Among the 56 players to be named All-Americans at Montclair State, Kubicka coached 38 of them – 19 First-Team selections, including 1992 NCAA Division III Player of the Year Lois Fyfe. Kubicka's teams have also excelled in the classroom, ranking among the top academic athletic teams at Montclair State and placing several players each year on the NJAC's All-Academic Team. In 2008, Jackie Ferranti became the first female and the fifth student-athlete in school history to be named to the Capital One Academic All-America Team. Pitcher Alex Hill earned three straight honors from 2012-14, including being the first Montclair State female to be selected to the First Team in 2013.
Kubicka, a 1984 graduate of Trenton State, is well acquainted with winning traditions. During her career, she played on the Lions' 1983 National Championship squad, the first for the school after having finished runner-up in both its 1982 and 1984 NCAA Division III Softball Championship campaigns. Following her graduation from Trenton State, the first team All-American earned her Master's in Science in Sports Management from the University of Massachusetts (UMAss) at Amherst, while serving as an assistant softball coach. During those three years, UMass earned two Atlantic 10 Championships and in 1986 garnered a bid to the NCAA Tournament.