“The 500th was nice, but really, 501 would be better,” noted Peru State College (PSC) Bobcat Softball head coach Mark Mathews following the team's win over Baker on Friday.
The Bobcats had opened the best-of-three Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) with a 5-4 win over the home team, Baker University. Unfortunately, for the Bobcats and Mathews, number 501 did not occur as Baker took the next two games to move on to the HAAC four-team double elimination tournament.
Mathews finished his 19th season at the helm of the Peru State softball program and is now 500-442 for his career. Mathews has more than doubled the total wins of all of the previous coaches in Bobcat history as the five coaches combined for 242 wins in 20 years.
Prior to the season, Mathews was listed at 21st on the NAIA Softball Winningest Active Coaches.
Mark Mathews gained his 500th win as a Bobcat softball coach
Mathews is the only softball coach to take a Bobcat team to a national tournament having done so in 1996 when the team finished 42-23.
In 2006, the Bobcats won the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC) regular season and tournament titles. These were the first MCAC championships for PSC in softball. Following that season, Mathews was awarded the MCAC and Region IV Coach of the Year honors.
While success on the field is important to Mathews, it is apparent he has a priority for his team to have success in the classroom. During Mathews' tenure, there have been 35 Bobcats who have been recognized as Scholar-Athletes and two more will be added to the list this year.
In addition, in 2011, the Bobcat softball team was named an NAIA Scholar Team.
When Mathews first arrived at PSC, he served as an assistant football coach for the Bobcats under coaches Monte Meadows and Dick Strittmatter (1993-1998).
Prior to PSC, Mathews had served as a coach at Pleasanton and Coleridge High Schools and had coached Legion baseball in his hometown St. Paul where he compiled a 112-41 record, including a 1985 Class C State Championship.
A 1987 graduate of Hastings College, Mathews was a Bronco football team member for four years.