Lonni Alameda enters her fifth season as the head coach of the UNLV softball team and has turned the program around to times reminiscent of the glory years in the 1990s.
After being named head coach on June 26, 2003, she has instilled a winning attitude and holds a record of 132-118.
Prior to taking over the Rebels, UNLV had seven-straight seasons of below-.500 softball. Since 2004, the program has witnessed three winning seasons out of four.
Alameda went 25-35 in her first season, which was a four-game improvement over 2003's final tally. She completely flipped the record to the right side with a staggering 44-19 mark in 2005 and the program's first trip to NCAA Regionals since 1996. In 2006, the squad was set back by injuries and fell to 26-37, but saw a 180-degree turnaround in 2007 with a 37-27 finish.
The 2005 season featured the Rebels' assault on the program's record book, appearances in the national rankings, a trip to Los Angeles for the NCAA Regionals and the introduction of several conference and national award winners, including: Marissa Nichols and Caitlyn Paus. The 44 wins were the third-most in the program's history, while the 17 Mountain West Conference wins were the most-ever since joining the league in 1999. Also, UNLV finished in second-place in the regular season and in the conference tournament.
With the year UNLV had in 2005, Alameda was named the Mountain West Conference's Coach of the Year and the staff as a whole was honored as the NFCA's West Region Coaching Staff of the Year.
After an off-year in 2006, the Rebels rebounded with their 37-27 mark last season and a second-place finish in league play. The squad was paced by eight MWC Player/Pitcher of the Week nods with Jaci Hull and Christie Robinson taking home three each. Kendall Fearn and Stephanie Bregante rounded out the winning selections. Alameda and Robinson were rewarded for their seasons, as they were bestowed the MWC's Coach of the Year and Pitcher of the Year award, respectively. Robinson, Hull and Fearn were chosen to the league's all-conference team, while Robinson was a Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-West Region performer.
To Alameda, academics are just as important as the on-the-field product. Since taking over the program, the Rebels have had 47 Academic All-MWC honorees. Over the past four years, the team has had 10 or more honored three times. The team has had 19 MWC Scholar-Athletes recognized, as well.
Alameda has also stressed the importance of helping out in the community. The team regularly volunteers time to help those less fortunate, including: at the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, Child Haven. They participate in breast cancer walks and are regulars at blood drives.
Since 2004, Alameda has helped in the development of Canada's National Softball Team. She has served as an assistant coach for the past three-plus years. She aided Canada up until the 2004 Summer Olympics and resumed as an assistant following the Rebels' 2005 season. In the summer of 2006, Canada qualified for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, after its showing in the World Championships.
Alameda came to Las Vegas after eight seasons as the assistant coach at Stanford University (Palo Alto, Calif.) where she helped guide the Cardinal to a 320-179-1 record and six straight NCAA Regional appearances. She oversaw the pitching staff there and produced three All-Americans: Becky Blevins, Marcy Crouch and Dana Sorenson.
Prior to her stint at Stanford, Alameda spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Barry University (Miami Shores, Fla.). She helped the Buccaneers to a fifth-place NCAA Division II finish in her first year. She also spent some time on the international stage, serving as instructor for both the Aruba (1995) and Spanish (2000) national teams.
An all-around great athlete, Alameda began her collegiate career as a pitcher at St. Mary's University (San Antonio, Texas) where she led the Rattlers to the NAIA Tournament in her only season. She later transferred to Oklahoma in 1989 and played softball and volleyball for the Sooners. She was a two-time All-Big Eight selection as a first and third baseman, while hitting .359 as a senior in 1992.
After earning her bachelor's degree in communications in 1993, Alameda played softball professionally in Europe for a season before taking on a coaching role at Barry.
A 1988 graduate of Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Heights, Calif., Alameda now resides in Henderson.
"Each day I am reminded how lucky I have been in life and in softball, stated Alameda. "I have been all around the world because of this game and I have interacted with some of the most interesting people. As a coaching staff we are very fortunate to have the support we have at UNLV and in the Las Vegas community. We are on our way to building something exciting here but most importantly we are creating a vision for UNLV Rebel Softball. A vision that continues to grow in the community and one that gives back."