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Amy Hogue Wins Pac-12 Coach of the Year

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Utah softball coach Amy Hogue won the Pac-12 Conference Coach of the Year after Utah's breakout season in the Pac-12

Utah head softball coach Amy Hogue won the Pac-12 Conference Coach of the Year after guiding Utah to their first winning record in the Pac-12, a fourth place finish in the conference (Utah was predicted to finish sixth), and berth in the NCAA Regionals. Hogue was not the only Ute honored, senior Kate Dickman and freshman Katie Donovan were both named first team All-Pac-12, while sophomore Hannah Flippen was named a second team All-Pac-12 selection. Freshmen Heather Bowen and Miranda Viramontes, as well as junior Kristen Stewart were named honorable mention selections.

"What a great honor for this program to have eight different players recognized with an award by the Pac-12," said Hogue. "Kate, Katie and Hannah have led us the entire year, so having them be named three of the top 30 players in the conference is exciting."

Dickman, who earned Pac-12 accolades for the third time her career, ranked third in the conference with a .448 batting average, while recording career-highs in doubles (20), home runs (9) and total bases (124) this season.

In just her first season with the Utes, Donovan recorded a 16-8 record in the circle, posted a 2.58 ERA and struck out 141 batters in 176.2 innings of work. She tossed four shutouts, including a no-hitter in just her second career start, and had 12 complete games in 25 starts.

Flippen was named to the all-conference team for a second straight season after batting .373 with eight doubles, a pair of triples and seven home runs. She scored 46 runs, drove in 28 runs and led the team with 22 walks on the year.

This marks the first season in the Pac-12 that Utah placed two players on the first team and the six overall selections are a school record as well. Utah had five honorable mention selections in 2012, a pair of second team and three honorable mention honors in 2013 and a second team selection to go along with two honorable mention accolades last season.

The future for Utah softball is bright with Donovan and Flippen both returning. Utah also had Donovan and Viramontes named to the All-Freshman team while Bowen was honorable mention. This marked the fourth straight year Utah had a player make the All-Freshman team.

"Having all three of our starting freshmen selected to the all-freshman team makes me very happy," Hogue added. "We have such a bright future with Miranda, Katie and Heather and they are just getting started."

Junior Shelby Pacheco and Flippen were both named to the inaugural Pac-12 All-Defensive Team, while sophomore Anissa Urtez, Dickman and Stewart were honorable mention selections.

"The all-defensive team is new to the conference awards," said Hogue. "Honoring Hannah and Shelby, when they only pick nine in the entire conference, is definitely something to brag about."

"It is very exciting to see our hard work on defense get honored the way it should," Hogue added. "Our double plays with Kristen, Anissa and Hannah are so amazing to watch and are a huge part of our game. They are all so deserving of these awards."

Pacheco had a great season behind the dish for the Utes, recording 32 assists and throwing out a conference-high 15 runners attempting to steal a base. Meanwhile, Flippen recorded a team-high 114 assists and had a hand in 21 of the team's 34 double plays.

The Utah softball team also landed four players on the NFCA All-Pacific Region teams.. Flippen was named a first team selection, Dickman and Donovan earned second team honors, and Stewart was tabbed a third team selection.

Utah's four all-region selections is tied for second most in program history (1985, 2000). Utah had a school-record five all-region selections back in 1994.

Flippen became the first Ute player to earn back-to-back all-region honors since Diana Phillips did so back in 2007 and 2008 and is the first player to be named to the first team in consecutive seasons in 14 years (Lyndsey Trevis: 2000, 2001). This is the first all-region selection for Dickman, Donovan and Stewart.

Hogue, who is in her eighth season at the helm of the Utah softball program, led the Utes to a 34-17 overall record in 2015, which included going 12-11 in Pac-12 play. Seven of Utah's wins in conference play came against top-25 ranked teams.

Hogue becomes the first Utah coach to earn Coach of the Year honors since Mona Stevens was given the award in 2000 when the softball program was still a member of the Mountain West Conference.

"On behalf of my entire coaching staff, I am thrilled about the honor we have received," said Hogue. "The [Pac-12 Coach of the Year] award may have my name is on it, but I know that it was a team effort and could not have gotten this without the support of my staff. I have surrounded myself with amazing people, that also happen to be great coaches and I am truly blessed."