|Head coach||Kate Drohan (18th season)|
|Home stadium||Sharon J. Drysdale Field (Capacity: 1,000)|
|Colors||Purple and white|
|NCAA WCWS runner-up|
|NCAA WCWS appearances|
|1984, 1985, 1986, 2006, 2007|
|NCAA Super Regional appearances|
|2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2019|
|NCAA Tournament appearances|
|1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022|
|Conference Tournament championships|
|Regular Season Conference championships|
|1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 2006, 2008, 2022|
The Northwestern Wildcats softball team is an NCAA Division I college softball team and part of the Big Ten Conference. They play their home games at Sharon J. Drysdale Field in Evanston, Illinois. They have an overall record of 836-629-4.
The program was founded in 1976, posting a 1-6 record, and was coached by Mary Conway. Conway coached for 3 years until Sharon J. Drysdale took the helm in 1979. Drysdale arrived at Northwestern in 1979 and spent the next 23 season building a program that would see 14 .500-plus seasons under her tutelage. By 1984, Drysdale had taken a program still in its infancy and earned a berth to the NCAA championships. They finished a then-program-best third that season, setting a Women's College World Series benchmark that no Big Ten team would surpass for two decades. She would return to the Women's College World Series two more times in her career, adding a fifth-place finish in 1985 and sixth-place finish in 1986. Drysdale's 'Cats also reached regional playoffs two times- 1987 and 2000. Named Big Ten Coach of the Year three teams (1984, 1987, and 1995), Drysdale reached many personal milestones in the latter portion of her career. She hit the 500-victory mark in a 4-0 win over Loyola-Chicago on April 10, 1996. And in her final year at the helm she picked up win 700 in a 4-2 decision over Indiana. However, Drysdale says the honors and awards earned by her players mean more to her than her own. There were five All-Americans, two Big Ten Players of the Year, four Big Ten Freshman of the Year, 31 NFCA All-Mideast Region players, and 36 All-Big Ten honorees. Her tenure also included one of the most decorated pitchers in collegiate softball. Lisa Ishikawa was a three-time All-American and during her freshman year she shattered the NCAA mark for strikeouts in a single season with 469. That year alone, she was named Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year, Big Ten Player of the Year, Big Ten Pitcher Year, and Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Off the field, Drysdale was actively involved in NCAA softball rules interpretation. She chaired the NCAA rules committee and was a member of the NFCA Bylaws committee. Drysdale literally wrote the rulebook for college softball.
In 2002, Kate Drohan, former assistant coach under Sharon Drysdale, assumed head coaching duties. Drohan brought on board associate head coach, and twin sister, Caryl Drohan. After 11 seasons as Northwestern's head coach, Kate Drohan's Wildcats have two Big Ten Titles, two Women's College World Series Appearances (including one National Championship appearance), eight NCAA playoff appearances, 14 All-America nods, four Big Ten Freshman of the Year awards, five Big Ten Player of the Year awards, and three Big Ten Pitcher of the Year accolades. Her 2006 coaching staff- including Caryl Drohan, Tori Nyberg, and Amanda Rivera- was the Speedline/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Coaching Staff of the Year.
On May 3, 2001, Anderson Field was renamed Sharon J. Drysdale Field in honor of her 23-year commitment as the Wildcats' head coach. For 1,155 games, Drysdale headed the Northwestern softball program and amassed a 640-512-3 record while sending 5 squads to the NCAA Tournament. Drysdale left Northwestern after the 2001 season to pursue a coaching certification program with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), but her legacy continues to live on at Northwestern. As of Fall 2007, the field is undergoing renovations that will see a new and improved bleacher seating area as well as an enclosed press box to replace the press tent of the past.
2007 Northwestern Softball Media Guide