HEAD COACH ROBERT WAGNER
Two-time NCAA Women’s College World Series Champion Robert Wagner has more than 20 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level. Wagner was associate head coach at ASU from 2006-11, the program’s top assistant in 2015 and its co-interim head coach throughout 2016.
The 2020 season will be his fourth as head of the Coyotes and it follows one of the most successful seasons in program history. South Dakota won 33 games in 2018, third-most in program history and the most at the Division I level. Included in the tally are a record 11 straight wins at home, a victory over then-No. 23 Michigan in Tempe, Arizona, and a trip to the championship game of the Summit League Tournament. South Dakota's entire infield, including two pitchers and a catcher, earned all-conference honors as did center fielder Camille Fowler. The Coyotes also boasted 11 shutouts, up from just three in 2018, and a team ERA of 3.82 that was nearly two runs better than the prior season.
South Dakota won 22 games in Wagner’s first season, up from 15 the year prior. He raised the team’s batting average by 45 points to .306, 29th-best in the nation, and the only Summit team to rank in the top 75. The eight returners to the squad in 2016 raised their batting average by an average of 98 points from the year prior.
In addition to building talent, Wagner is working behind the scenes to enhance Coyote facilities. Wagner has already improved Nygaard Field by installing both a new infield and outfield, and by adding seating around the facility. He utilizes the DakotaDome to conduct indoor practices and workouts both during and outside of the regular season.
In addition to Arizona State, Wagner has been an assistant softball coach at his alma mater, University of Washington (2005), at University of Utah (2001-02), and at Central Arizona College (1999-2000). His first head coaching gig at the collegiate level was at Odessa College from 2003-04. His second was at Scottsdale Community College from 2012-14, in between his two stints with Arizona State.
Arizona State qualified for the NCAA Tournament in all eight seasons with Wagner on staff. The Sun Devils advanced to the Women’s College World Series five times and won national championships in 2008 and 2011. ASU was 392-127 under Wagner (.755) including a 45-13 record in the NCAA Tournament.
Wagner was 62-48 in two seasons at Odessa, which included a 42-24 mark in year two that served as the program’s first winning season. The Wranglers led the conference in stolen bases both seasons and competed in the postseason for the first time in 2004.
In 2014, Wagner led the Scottsdale Artichokes to their first region championship and first appearance at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Tournament in Mississippi. Scottsdale finished with a 45-24 record and a final ranking of nine. The Artichokes won 90 games in three seasons with Wagner.
Wagner is a 1995 graduate of Washington where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English. He received his master’s degree in education administration from University of Phoenix in 2000. He also served in the United States Marine Corps for four years. His family includes his wife, Caylyn, and children DJ, Brody, Dylyn, Linkin and Preston.