Grand Valley State Softball Camps
Head Coach Dana Callihan
Dana Callihan will begin her sixth season as Grand Valley State’s head softball coach during the 2020 campaign. She was named the second full-time head softball coach in Laker history on May 30, 2014.
During her five years at the helm of the GVSU program, Callihan owns a 203-67 overall record (.751), as well as a 103-26 mark (.798) in GLIAC play. She has been named the GLIAC Coach of the year each of the last three seasons.
2019 was yet another successful campaign under the guidance of Callihan, as the Lakers posted a 51-10 (.836) overall record and a 24-6 (.800) mark in conference play. The 51 wins is the second most by a Laker team while they also finished the season 19-1 at home. GVSU was also 11-2 against nationally ranked opponents and took home their second straight GLIAC Regular Season and Tournament titles. After sweeping through the conference tournament, GVSU rattled off five straight victories to earn their second trip to the NCAA DII College Softball World Series under Callihan. After an opening round loss to #3 Texas A&M-Kingsville, the Lakers won a couple of close games over #23 LIU Post (2-0) and #2 West Florida (3-2) to become just one of four teams left playing. Their season came to an end with another loss to the Javelinas, 3-2. It was the Lakers ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
Senior pitcher Allison Lipovsky became just the second Laker in program history to be named a national player of the year, as she earned Schutt Sports/NFCA National Pitcher of the Year honors. She was also named to the NFCA All-American First Team while sophomore first baseman Nikoma Holmen earned third team honors. Additionally, nine Lakers earned All-GLIAC honors with six first teamers, a second teamer, and two honorable mentions.
The coaching staff consisting of Callihan, assistant coaches Jen Rivera and Aaron Daldos, and graduate assistant Jessi Ramos were honored as the 2019 NCAA DII Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year by the NFCA.
The 2018 season saw the Lakers start with a 2-3 record after their first five games but they would quickly get things turned around. After a loss on March 8 to #8 Winona State the Lakers would not lose another game until April 21 as they rattled off 21-straight victories. They closed out the regular season with a 24-2 mark in the conference and proceeded to roll through the GLIAC Tournament to secure both the regular season and tournament championships. After falling in the first game of the NCAA Midwest Region, they bounced back for three more victories to make an appearance in the regional final. They would fall to eventual national champion Southern Indiana, 2-1, to finish their season with a 44-9 overall record.
It was Lakers eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
For their efforts, junior pitcher Allison Lipovsky earned NFCA First Team All-American Honors while senior Allie Grys was named a CoSIDA Academic All-American as well. The Lakers also took home six All-GLIAC First Team awards and two honorable mention honors. Lipovsky was named the GLIAC Pitcher of the Year for the second season in a row as well.
After a slow start to the 2017 campaign, Callihan and GVSU rebounded to put together a 20-game winning streak, the third-longest in school history and the longest stretch in 17 seasons. The Lakers finished the year as GLIAC regular season champions with a 17-5 mark in conference play and posted a 33-18 overall tally. Grand Valley State completed just the fifth unbeaten home schedule in program history at 14-0; moreover, the perfect slate of 14 wins are the most home victories in a season without a loss in team history.
GVSU advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2017 for the seventh consecutive season and with the 1-0 defeat over Indianapolis, the Lakers have won at least one game in 14 of their 15 NCAA postseason appearances. In addition to Callihan being named the GLIAC Co-Coach of the Year for the first time, Grand Valley State sophomore Allison Lipovsky was tabbed the GLIAC Pitcher of the Year and was part of a seven-member group that received All-GLIAC accolades.
2017 was also Callihan's first year as a head coach of a GVSU All-American. Senior second baseman Jenna Lenza collected multiple All-America honors: Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) First Team, National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) First Team, and CoSIDA Academic First Team. Lenza is just the second Academic All-American in program history and also the second Laker ever to receive Daktronics/D2CCA and NFCA All-America honors in the same year.
In 2016, Grand Valley State returned to the College World Series for the third time in school history, as the Lakers finished the campaign with a 43-13 mark. GVSU went 21-5 in GLIAC play during the 2016 season, finishing as conference regular season runner-up. The Lakers won the Midwest Region #1 Tournament in Indianapolis, Ind. by defeating Southern Indiana and #2 nationally-ranked Indianapolis before capturing a pair of elimination games over Trevecca Nazarene to advance to the Midwest Super Regional best-of-three championship series.
The three-game Super Regional series took place in Detroit, Mich. against GLIAC rival #10 Wayne State. GVSU came back to win game one (5-4) before taking the clinching game (1-0) to return to the College World Series for the third time. Grand Valley State lost to #1 West Texas A&M (4-0) and #16 Armstrong State (7-4) at the College World Series in Denver, Colo., in conjunction with the NCAA Division II Spring Sports Festival.
Callihan has been on the Lakers’ coaching staff during all three berths (2002, 2013, 2016) in the Division II College World Series.
After the 2016 season, Grand Valley State had eight All-GLIAC selections (tied for most in program history) and four All-GLIAC First Team honorees. Pitcher Allison Lipovsky was named the 2016 GLIAC Freshman of the Year, which is the fifth in school history and fourth in the last seven years. GVSU finished 2016 with a #7 national ranking in the last NFCA Top-25 poll of the year.
Additionally, Callihan and assistant coach Jen Rivera were honored as the Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year after the Lakers’ run to the College World Series, as announced by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). This is the second time that Callihan and Rivera have received this honor, also doing so in 2011 with head coach Doug ‘Doc’ Woods, as that GVSU team notched a 19-win improvement, won 41 games, was the top-hitting team in Division II, and advanced to the Midwest Super Regional series.
Her first season at the helm of the GVSU program was the 2015 campaign, as the Lakers ended the year with a 32-17 overall record. Finishing fourth in the GLIAC, Grand Valley State owned a 17-8 conference mark. The Lakers advanced to the NCAA postseason for the fifth consecutive season, falling in the Midwest Region Tournament in St. Louis, Mo.
Before being chosen to take over the program, Callihan was the top assistant coach for 13 seasons under previous head coach Doug 'Doc' Woods. She was also a four-year letterwinner for the Lakers on the field. As a player and coach, Callihan has been a part of 649 victories during her 19 seasons affiliated with the program.
A player from 1989-92, Callihan was a two-time team captain and all-conference catcher, winning 101 games during her career. Her final two seasons as a Laker player were the first two years of Woods' coaching tenure. She then joined Woods on the coaching staff in the fall of 2001, as GVSU advanced to the Division II College World Series in 2002, her first season as an assistant coach. Callihan was also on staff during the 2013 team's return appearance to the College World Series.
Since the 2002 season, the Lakers have compiled an overall record of 581-245-1, good for a .703 winning percentage. Grand Valley State has put together a 260-109 (.705) record in GLIAC play since Callihan joined the staff. The Lakers have had just one losing season over the past 15 years, while winning 30 or more games 13 times, and recording six seasons of at least 40 victories in that span.
With Callihan on staff, Grand Valley State has advanced to the NCAA Tournament 14 times (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) and won seven GLIAC titles (2003, 2004, 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019).
In 2011, Callihan was part of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year, as the Lakers advanced to the Midwest Super Regional. She is a member of the NFCA and the Alliance of Women Coaches (AWC).
Over the years, Callihan has been involved in numerous aspects of softball, as she has played and coached slow-pitch, fast-pitch, and baseball. She has also been a high school softball umpire in the Grand Rapids area. Callihan organized, played, and coached a women's baseball team, which played in the first official women's baseball game held at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Originally from Clare, Mich., Callihan attended Clare High School, where she played softball, volleyball, and basketball. She was also a member of Fellowship for Christian Athletes and National Honor Society.
A 1992 graduate of GVSU, Callihan earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial technology, while completing her master's degree in sports administration from Central Michigan in 2009. Before joining the GVSU coaching staff, she worked as a quality engineer and training coordinator for eight years with local automotive manufacturing companies.
Callihan and her husband, Charlie, reside in Lowell, Mich. with their son, Zachary.