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Reardon passes 950 career wins, sets sights on 1,000

Justin Addison, Editor/Publisher
Posted 3/12/24

Legendary Central Methodist softball coach Pat Reardon is in rarified air. On Sunday, he reached 950 career coaching wins and is fourth on the all-time wins list by NAIA softball coaches.

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Reardon passes 950 career wins, sets sights on 1,000


Legendary Central Methodist softball coach Pat Reardon is in rarified air. On Sunday, he reached 950 career coaching wins and is fourth on the all-time wins list by NAIA softball coaches.

A couple of hours later, he upped his total to 951, leading his team to a two-game sweep over St. Mary at home.

“I really wasn’t even thinking about it until I started getting a few text messages last night,” Reardon said on Monday. “I completely lost track of where it was. It really took me by surprise.”

In front of Reardon on the Heart wins list compiled at the end of 2023 are Phil McSpadden from Oklahoma City (1,891), Wendy Spratt from Columbia (1,014), and Wes Holly from Milligan (Tenn.) (979).

Reardon reached 900 wins in March last year and is quickly closing in on the 1,000-win milestone. His teams have recorded 40 or more wins seven times over the previous nine seasons, not including 2020, which was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I knew getting over 900 was good, but then I thought in a couple of years, I might hang in there long enough to get a thousand,” he said. “It’s coming quicker than I thought.”

Reardon has spent his entire coaching career at Central Methodist. This season marks his 32nd with the Lady Eagles. And turning the team into an NAIA powerhouse did not happen overnight. It took 16 seasons to win a conference championship, and ever since, CMU has been a dominant team with two trips to the college softball World Series.

“It seems like that’s what’s expected, and it’s not easy by any means,” Reardon said about his program’s success. “There were some struggles along the way, for sure.”

Early in his career, Central didn’t even have its own softball field. Home games were played at the Fayette High School field. Eventually, the university completed the construction of its own field in 2007, thanks to a donation from alumnus Glenn Cox. A new clubhouse was later constructed after a generous donation from Dr. Ralph E. Knowles, Jr. Last year, the Cox Softball Complex received a facelift with a new artificial turf field.

A high-end facility definitely helps with recruiting. Reardon also credits his father, Gene, who came on as a full-time volunteer after retiring from a high-profile career working for the U.S. Department of Defense as a civil servant at the Pentagon. 

“Obviously, a key piece was when my dad retired. He came back and started helping me on a volunteer full-time basis. He really helped the recruiting game,” Reardon said.

Coach Reardon also credits CMU President Roger Drake.

“He got in on the front end and has made a commitment to athletics,” he said. “That’s really helped us.”

Reardon said that when he began coaching, he had no idea his career would last so long. “I thought I’d only coach for a year or two and then go out and get a real job,” he said.

But he kept at it, and now, more than three decades later he has nine Coach of the Year awards and became the winningest coach in the Heart of America Athletic Conference in 2015. Over the past 11 seasons, Central Methodist has won seven regular-season conference championships and five conference tournament titles. 

Central Methodist has been home to Reardon since 1986, when he stepped foot on campus as a soccer player. A four-year letterman on the pitch, he earned All-Conference and All-District honors and still holds the program record for career goals scored with 39. He also earned three letters competing in baseball. 

Upon graduating with a Business Administration degree in 1990, Reardon entered the coaching realm, spending 12 seasons as the head women’s soccer coach at Central Methodist while also beginning his historic tenure as head softball coach. He also spent one season coaching men’s and women’s tennis and one season coaching men’s soccer in the early 1990s.

But even with such a storied career, Reardon said he’s never been a numbers guy. “People are amazed because I’ve got a box in my office, a box down at the field. I have a lot of my awards and plaques and Coach of the Year stuff, and I don’t have any of it hung up. I’m not a big ‘look at me’ kind of guy.

“They do mean quite a bit, but I’ve never really been that way.”

With such a long career, Reardon recalls coaching the mothers of two players on his current roster. Senior Madison white and freshman Diana Linscott are both second-generation players under Reardon.

“I’ve done this long enough to where, currently on my team, I have two players whose moms both played for me,” he said. “Some of the biggest intrinsic rewards that come from me are hearing from a player after 10 years being gone and telling me that she’s got two kids and seeing them somewhere out and getting a hug from them.”

Another benefit has been coaching his daughter and working with her during her time at Central. Addy Reardon joined the coaching staff this season. Along with her dad and grandfather, the coaching staff is truly a family affair.

“It’s another family trio there. She’s been she’s been a good addition to the staff this year,” said coach Reardon.

After winning 951 games in 32 years, Reardon is rapidly closing in on 1,000 wins. Considering his teams’ consistent performances over the past several years, it’s entirely conceivable that he will reach 1,000 wins next season. He said the 1,000-win mark is undoubtedly on his mind, but he is most concerned with the next game.

“A thousand is kind of the next the next thing. But I’m focused on getting 952 more than I am getting 1,000 right now,” he said. “It’s definitely there for sure. I want to keep going as long as I can.”

But even with 1,000 wins on the horizon, Reardon admits that after 32 years, he’s on the downward slope of his career. How long that slope is, nobody knows, least of all Reardon.

“I just want to keep winning conference championships and giving each kid that comes here the opportunity to go to a World Series and to go win a conference championship because it doesn’t happen all the time,” he said.

Win Number 952 could come this afternoon. Central is scheduled to take on the Cotty Comets for a doubleheader in Nevada, Mo., today (Wednesday). The Lady Eagles return home Saturday to open Heart play with a six-game home stand, beginning with a doubleheader against Clark at 1 p.m.

Central has shot out to a great start so far this season. As of Tuesday morning, the Lady Eagles held an overall record of 17-2 with a perfect 7-0 home record and are riding a nine-game winning streak.


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