Rick Church has led the Buccaneers to 19 Region XIV Conference Tournament appearances and now enters his 21st season with the program. Blinn College softball has captured conference and regional championships in 2003, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and most recently in 2015 with the program’s seventh trip to the NJCAA National Championships. His team finished second in the nation in 2003, the best finish in program history.
Church holds the most all-time victories at Blinn College with 825 wins. His overall college coaching record stands at 899-376 (.705).
The Buccaneers are coming off a 44-15 season in 2019 where they finished with a No. 17 national ranking. After recording a program-best 23-1 conference record, Blinn softball claimed the Region XIV South Division Championship. The Buccaneers placed fourth in the Region XIV Tournament.
This season, Church and assistant coach Jami Ingram were named the 2019 Region XIV Coaching Staff of the Year, Kimber Cortemelia was named the 2019 Region XIV South Division Player of the Year and Meghan Morris was named the 2019 Region XIV South Division Pitcher of the Year. Cortemelia was also named a NJCAA All-American and to the 2019 National Fastpitch Coaches Association NJCAA Division I All-Region Midwest second team. In addition, Blinn softball was named a 2019 NJCAA Academic Team of the Year after maintaining a team grade point average of 3.0 or better throughout the academic year.
The 2018-19 team had seven players move on to play at four-year colleges, the most to move on in 20 seasons. Shortstop Tori Alvarez-Lopez signed with Incarnate Word University, infielder and outfielder Sarah Cedillo signed with East Texas Baptist University, catcher Kelsey Lowke and infielder and outfielder Lexi Harris signed with Mary Hardin Baylor University, and infielder Courtney Ogle, infielder and outfielder Amber Langston and third baseman Kimber Cortemelia signed with The University of Texas at Arlington.
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) honored Church and assistant coaches Jami Ingram and Jaymie Heibel by naming them the 2015 Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year. The NFCA honored Church and Ingram as the Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012. Church, Ingram and assistant Haley Long were named Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year and were named the Region XIV Conference Coaching Staff of the Year. Honors in 2009 included Region XIV Coach of the Year and NFCA Midwest Coaching Staff of the Year.
In 2017, Church was recognized by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association for earning his 800th victory. In 2012, the Easton Victory Club honored Church for gaining his 700th victory. Church was awarded Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year honors in 2004, while 2003 season honors included Speedline/NFCA Coaching Staff of the Year, Midwest Coaching Staff of the Year and Region XIV Coach of the Year. Before arriving at Blinn College, Church served as co-founder, owner, and head instructor for the Can-Am Baseball/Softball Academy in Langley, British Columbia from 1992-1997. While in Canada he was also the coach of the White Rock Renegades women’s fast pitch team. The Renegades won back-to-back Canadian championships in 1993 and 1994. His overall record with the Renegades was 179-46 (.790). He had the privilege of training eight current or former Canadian National Team players. He joined the Can-Am Academy Houston operation as a consultant from 1997-1999.
Prior to his Can-Am years, Church served as the head softball coach and professor of physical education at Arizona Western College from 1990-1992. His record at AWC was 74-34. AWC finished as Region I runners-up in 1991 and placed third in 1992. Church served as an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska from 1986-1989. During that time, the Huskers made two College World Series appearances, finishing third and fifth, respectively, in 1987 and 1988.
Church has earned doctoral hours from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in Kinesiology from Sam Houston State University (1984), and his bachelor’s degree from Kearney State College (1982), where he played college baseball as an infielder.
During his coaching tenure he has traveled with teams to Taiwan, Australia and Holland. In the summer of 2001, his team finished third in an international tournament in Holland. He has also been a speaker, presenter or clinician at over 200 camps and clinics. In 2006, Church was selected to join the Canadian National Team coaching pool.
In the summer of 2006 he was a coach for the Canada Elite team and was elevated to the National team staff in December 2006. In the summer of 2007, the Canadian National Team earned a silver medal at the Pan-American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Church is a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Church also served as Chair for the Division Health & Kinesiology (Brenham campus) from 2007-14.
Church receives support and encouragement from his family. His wife Rocio is a kindergarten teacher in the Klein ISD. They have two children: Jordi (1992) and Demi (1994).