Following a storied coaching career which yielded 404 wins, Northwest head softball coach Mike Rowan has announced his retirement after 16 seasons in command.
"Northwest has provided my family with many opportunities through the years.," Rowan said. "I have had the pleasure of coaching some great student-athletes and have built relationships with other colleagues and friends throughout the state. I plan to spend more time with my family and grandchildren, pick up some old hobbies and make some new ones."
Rowan's retirement comes after the completion of his 16th season leading the Northwest softball program. He leaves as the Rangers' all-time winningest coach, compiling a final career coaching record of 404-249-1 (.618) and a final MACJC record of 222-134 (.624).
Throughout his career, Rowan led the Rangers to 30 or more wins four times and advanced to eight MACJC Tournaments and six NJCAA Region XXIII Tournaments during his tenure. He led Northwest to its first-ever north division championship in the history of the program in 2007 and set a school record for victories with 36. The Rangers added division titles in 2009 and 2015 before softball went to a conference-wide format in 2016.
A total of 50 Rangers have earned All-MACJC recognition under Rowan's watch in addition to nine NJCAA All-Region 23 selections. An additional 23 have continued their softball careers at the four-year level.
Off the field, Northwest has boasted one of the nation's top 10 GPAs in six consecutive years, finishing as the NFCA's junior college runner-up in 2013-14 (3.489) and 2014-15 (3.522). The Rangers have also boasted an MACJC-most 68 NFCA All-America Scholar Athletes during that time.
This season, Rowan's Rangers compiled a 3.39 team GPA with five student-athletes earning President's or Vice President's list recognition.
An MACJC and Northwest Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Rowan was an All-MACJC selection after the 1977 football season as a quarterback and played in the Mississippi Junior College All-Star Game. He also lettered two seasons in baseball (1976-77) at Northwest as a pitcher and outfielder and led the Rangers to back-to-back state championships.
Prior to taking over the softball program in 2004, Rowan headed up the track team in 1982 and leading the squad to the MACJC north division, state and Region XXIII championships. For his efforts, Rowan was named state and region Coach of the Year.
Other coaching experience for Rowan came at Senatobia High School from 1991-2002. His duties there included junior high basketball and football coach and girls' cross country coach. Before going to Senatobia, Rowan was director of athletics at Baddour Memorial Center in Senatobia from 1982-92 where he worked with the Special Olympics.
Away from Northwest, Rowan has been a certified official in football, basketball, baseball and softball for almost four decades. He has officiated sports on many different levels including the MAIS, MHSAA and the MACJC. Rowan has been named Softball Official of the Year by the MHSAA on three occasions.
Northwest will begin a search for Rowan's replacement next month.
BULLDOGS WALKED OFF FROM CWS: Mississippi State’s stay at the College World Series was halted in walk-off fashion late Thursday night in Omaha. A base hit in the bottom of the ninth inning scored the winning run for Louisville, which edged the Bulldogs 4-3 and eliminated Mississippi State from the NCAA national championship tournament. It was the first time Mississippi State had been defeated this spring when leading after eight innings. The loss also ended the Bulldogs’ year at 52-15.
State opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the fourth inning for a 2-0 lead and led 3-2 after seven innings of play. But the Cardinals tallied twice in the ninth inning, including the game-winning run, and move on in the tournament.
Catcher Dustin Skelton of Olive Branch and Magnolia Heights had one hit in three at-bats Thursday night for the Bulldogs.
STERNISHA SIGNS WITH WEST ALABAMA: Itawamba Community College sophomore infielder Rachel Sternisha will continue her softball career at the University of West Alabama, Itawamba officials announced on Friday. The former Lady Quistor this spring finished her second year in Fulton with a .325 batting average, 57 runs scored, 39 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and one home run.
Her Indians team compiled a 40-16-1 record this year, won a state tournament title and had the school’s first-ever appearance in the NJCAA Division II national tournament. It was her walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh that gave the Indians a national tournament win over Louisburg College of North Carolina in the national tournament’s first round.
DAVIS GOES UNDRAFTED: Signing as a free agent, agreeing to a two-way deal that could have him spending time in the NBA G League, or taking his talents overseas are among the options now available for Ole Miss basketball senior Terence Davis. The Rebel from Southaven went through Thursday’s NBA Draft expecting to hear his name called at some point in the second round but no one came calling. Ole Miss had hoped he would be the first Rebels’ basketball player drafted by an NBA team since 2010. By some accounts, Davis was pegged as high as the 40th best available player in the draft.
Sports Information Director at Northwest Mississippi Community College Brian Lentz contributed to this story.