By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – After 21 seasons building and leading the Capital University softball program, Nan Payne has announced that she is stepping down as the program's head coach. A national search for the next Capital head softball coach will begin immediately.
Feeling called to pursue other passions, Head Coach Nan Payne has announced her retirement from coaching. On May 14, 2019, Payne announced the opening of Let Love Farm, a non-profit organization designed to provide care for animals, develop companionship between animals and people through special programming, and cultivate community through nature and Christian ministry.
"It's with great difficulty mixed with joy that I step away from coaching the game I love Capital is an outstanding program built on a foundation of trust, togetherness and the willingness to better ourselves and others that cross our path. But it's at this time I feel Christ's calling to impact others in a different way. It has been a privilege to coach the Crusaders and lead such strong women from the ballfield into their adult lives, and I thank each and every person who has been a part of that journey over my coaching career."
- Nan Payne, Capital head softball coach
"Nan Payne is Capital Softball. She has built an outstanding program and has produced hundreds of passionate, successful, alumni over her career. Nan is a quality person and will be missed greatly in our offices and on our staff. We wish her well as she follows her new calling!"
- Roger Ingles, Director of Athletics and Recreation
Payne, Capital Softball's winningest coach in program history, amassed 491 victories for the Purple and White since 1999. The Crusaders won 20 or more games in 18 of Payne's 21 seasons as head coach and advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament behind a 30-win season twice.
The Englewood, Ohio native and University of Michigan alum took over the program after spending six seasons at Buffalo State College (N.Y.) where she was an assistant coach. The Bengals advanced to the NCAA Tournament five times and posted 168 victories with Payne on staff.
Prior to the 1999 season, Payne was named the Crusaders' the ninth head softball coach by former athletic director Roger Welsh, and she immediately led the team toward an overall five-win improvement from the previous season. Her first win came in game number one as a head coach, a 5-1 victory over St. Thomas (Fla.).
In just her fourth season, Payne and the Crusaders won the 2002 OAC Regular Season Championship and was granted an at-large berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The 2002 season marked the first of two 30-win seasons for CU under Payne. It was also a year in which Payne was named OAC Coach of the Year and NFCA Central Region Coach of the Year after setting the record for overall wins in a season (30), a record she would later break again.
Payne and the Crusaders proved their elite status during a magical 2013 campaign in which they won the OAC regular season championship, earned the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament Angola (Ind.) Regional and set a school record with 35 victories. Capital also hosted the OAC Tournament for the first time in school history and received votes in the final National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Top-25 Poll. The team was ranked as high as No. 22 in the national poll. Payne and long-time assistants Andrea Klingle and Alan Tharp were named OAC Coaching Staff of the Year while their players earned a slew of accolades ranging from all-conference to All-America, both on and off the field.
With Payne at the helm, Capital Softball has become one of the University's highest decorated programs. A total of eight All-America awards were earned among five different deserving players, and three were named Academic All-America. Twenty-eight Crusaders have been named all-region, 66 tabbed to all-conference honors, and 54 earned academic all-conference laurels.
She completes her head coaching career with an overall record of 491 wins, 358 losses, and three ties. Against OAC competition, she finishes with a record of 202-171 in 21 seasons. She goes down as the all-time winningest coach in Capital Softball history and holds more than 400 wins over the next nearest coach.
Capital University will begin a national search for the 10th head softball coach in program history, immediately.