Melinda Fischer Head Coach
Only 25 head coaches in NCAA Division I softball can claim to have won 1,000 games in their coaching career with at least 10 years of Division I head coaching experience. Only nine of those coaches can claim 1,000 wins at one institution. Illinois State head coach Melinda Fischer, who enters her 35th season at the help of the Redbird softball program during the 2019-20 academic year, can claim both honors, in addition to many others.
The all-time winningest coach in Illinois State Athletics history. Missouri Valley Conference All-Centennial Head Softball Coach. A combined nine Missouri Valley Conference and Gateway Athletic Conference regular-season championships. A 2010 NFCA Hall of Fame inductee. A 2016 ISU College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) Hall of Fame Inductee. All of that and more define Illinois State head softball coach Melinda Fischer.
Fischer's 1,092 career victories, spread out among 36 previous seasons as a collegiate head coach (at both Eastern Illinois [1979-80] and Illinois State [1986-present]), rank her as the 20th-winningest coach in NCAA Division I softball history and the 12th-winningest active head coach. She's continued her historical rise through the career coaching ranks with her 1,000th-career win in an 8-2 victory over Northern Iowa in the MVC Tournament on May 8, 2015.
Tina Kramos Associate Head Coach
Beginning her 20th season at Illinois State during the 2019-20 school year, senior associate head coach Tina Kramos has taken the knowledge and skills she earned while playing shortstop for Missouri State from 1990-95 and transferred that into an ability to coach the Redbird hitters and outfielders into some of the finest in The Valley.
Promoted to senior associate head coach on July 24, 2017, Kramos has helped manage every aspect of the program while also being the third-longest tenured coach at Illinois State.
As an assistant coach at ISU, Kramos has coached three All-Americans (Amber Smith - 2006; Kara Nelson - 2007, 2010; Abby Olson - 2010), and played a role in then-freshman Kara Nelson earning the 2007 Valley Player of the Year Award, the first time in conference history that a freshman has had that award bestowed upon her. Nelson went on to claim a second MVC Player of the Year honor in 2011 under Kramos' guidance, while catchers Elizabeth Kay won the award in 2013 and Jordan de los Reyes won the award in 2017.
Mike Armitage Assistant Softball Coach
Mike Armitage is in his first season at Illinois State, bringing a plethora of experience to the Redbird softball program, both as a coach and a player. He assumed the program’s full-time assistant coaching position in August, after serving as a volunteer as- sistant during the 2019 season. He just finished his third season serving as an assistant softball coach for the U.S. Junior Men's 19U National Team, and was a participant with the International Softball Congress, as well as the NAFA and ASA, for nearly 20 years. As a coach, Armitage has assisted or served as the head coach on teams with multiple conference, regional and sectional championships at the high school level in softball, baseball and basketball. He has also coached high school all-star teams in both softball and basketball.