WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – West Liberty University head softball coach Herb Minch has announced that he is stepping down, bringing down the curtain on a coaching career that spanned a quarter-century on the hilltop.

     Athletic Director Lynn Ullom has appointed assistant coach Nikki Nuzum to serve as interim head coach for the program. 

     “I want to recognize Coach Minch’s commitment and dedication to the athletic department and the university for almost three decades,” Ullom said. “Not only did he produce regionally-competitive softball teams, he was also regarded as one of the best athletic trainers in the country for many years. I certainly wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

     Minch departs as the winningest softball coach in West Liberty history with 564 career wins – including a 342-232 record in conference play – during his 25 years at the helm. The Hilltoppers posted six 30-win seasons, topped by a school-record 42-16 mark in 2004. A three-time Mountain East Conference Coach of the Year and a WLU Hall of Famer, Minch led the Black and Gold to conference titles in 1999, 2019, 2021 and 2022 and earned NCAA Division II Tournament bids in 2019 and 2021. 

     In addition to coaching, the West Liberty alumnus served double duty as the school’s Head Athletic Trainer for over two decades. After his first 17 seasons, he yielded the head coaching reins for a few years to focus on his expanding duties as an instructor and Clinical Education Coordinator for WLU’s Athletic Training program. Minch returned to the dugout prior to the 2017 season.

     “I will miss my WLU colleagues and the student-athletes,” Minch said, “but after almost 30 years, the time has come for me to step aside and allow the next generation to lead the softball program in its pursuit of MEC and NCAA championships.

     “Whether it was teaching more than a dozen different courses in Health and Human Performance, overseeing the healthcare of more than 3,000 student-athletes as an athletic trainer or coaching over 500 softball student-athletes, the years I spent on the hilltop were the opportunity of a lifetime. Thank you West Liberty University and Go Toppers!”

     Nuzum joined the West Liberty staff this year following successful NCAA head coaching stints at Franciscan University and Alderson Broaddus, having previously served as a collegiate assistant coach at Penn State-Fayette, Washington & Jefferson and Youngstown State. 

     She is a graduate of East Fairmont High School and Fairmont State University. A two-time All-Stater at East Fairmont, Nuzum was an All-Conference and NCAA Division II Academic All-District pitcher during her playing days with the Falcons.