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Merrylou Windhorst

A pioneer in local girls’ fast-pitch circles, Windhorst coached for more than 30 years and compiled a 252-101 won-lost record in that span---a winning percentage of slightly less than 70 percent. She originated the girls’ program at Our Lady of the Elms in 1967. She was living a religious life as Sister Bryant when she received permission to start a girls’ softball program. She started the program at the Elms before leaving to start a similar softball program at St. Vincent-St. Mary High, where she remained for 25 years. In time, Windhorst returned to the Elms as an assistant to Tony Ninni, went back to St. V-M to serve as an assistant in that program, then retired from coaching. Windhorst guided the Fighting Irish to Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Class AAA (now Div. I ) region and state titles in 1979 and 1984, won five district crowns, and sent many players to collegiate programs. “When I started those softball programs at the Elms and ST V-M, there were only four high school teams playing fast-pitch in the Akron area’” she said “We played each other several times, and that was our season.” The National Association of Softball Coaches in 1985 named Windhorst Coach of the Year and the OHSAA presented her with a commemorative award after her 200th coaching victory. She won Dapper Dan awards in the mid ‘80’s and was inducted into the St V-M Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. Since retiring from coaching (she continues to teach at St V-M ), Windhorst, 60, an avid sports fan, enjoyed watching her daughter Kristin play softball for Wright State, and follows her son Brian’s exploits as a Beacon Journal sportswriter. She says she has on occasion considered returning to coaching but changes in the game have kept her from doing so.

Inducted 2005 | Coach