Northwestern State extends softball head coach Pickett’s contract through 2026

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Donald Pickett and NSU Softball
(Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services)

NATCHITOCHES – Donald Pickett is already Northwestern State’s winningest softball coach in program history, and he’ll be able to stack up more wins after signing a contract through the 2026 season.

The extension was approved by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, of which Northwestern State is a member.

Pickett surpassed Rickey McCalister in early 2018 and has accumulated 336 career wins in 13 seasons.

He rebuilt Lady Demon softball into a formidable Southland Conference program, leading NSU to Southland Conference Tournament titles in 2013 and 2014 with corresponding NCAA Tournament appearances just four years after a 5-45 record.

The Lady Demons won the SLC regular season title in 2015, which earned Picket SLC Coach of the Year honors.

Pickett has qualified for eight of the possible 12 postseasons (lost the 2020 postseason to the COVID-19 pandemic), including six of the last seven.

“Consistency helps you be competitive year after year, and that’s something we’ve established at NSU,” Pickett said. “Consistency tells your current players that the staff is going to be in place to continue to build on what we’re doing and recruits that we’re on the same page going forward.

“I’d like to thank the NSU administration for putting that confidence in me and in my staff, and we’ll continue building a championship program.”

NSU has had winning campaigns in eight of the last nine seasons and put together five 30-win seasons.

The Lady Demons have finished in the top four in the Southland Conference five times.

“As an athletics director, it is very reassuring to entrust one’s softball program and, more importantly, the young ladies on that team, to function every day under the leadership of a quality individual and man of high character like Donald Pickett,” said NSU Director of Athletics Greg Burke. “Donald, while positioning NSU softball for continued on-field success, also has managed the program at a high level on several other fronts including academic achievement, community involvement, fundraising and public relations.

“It is a blessing to have had him as our head softball coach for the past 13 years and even more so that he will be leading our program for the foreseeable future.”

Individual players have flourished under Pickett’s leadership.

He’s coached five NFCA All-Region players, 34 All-Southland Conference selections and 2015 Pitcher of the Year (Mikayla Brown).

Pickett’s players own six NSU career offensive records as the Lady Demons underwent a power hitting resurgence (four of NSU’s top five home run hitters played for Pickett).

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