Perhaps on the day of her birth, Alabama assistant coach Vann Stuedeman, now in her 11th season, was destined to come to the University of Alabama. Born on September 11, Stuedeman shares the same birthday as legendary Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.
"Vann has been a huge part of our success on the mound the past several years," said head coach Patrick Murphy. "I don't think a school in the country besides Alabama can say they have had nine 20-game winners the past six years. Our philosophy has always been to have a good "pitching staff" and Vann has accomplished that with great pitching performances by several young ladies. I think a key indicator of a good coach is the improvement of the athletes over their careers. Our pitchers have always gotten better."
Stuedeman has been instrumental in building the UA pitching staff into one of the most dominant in the nation. Her efforts have been vital to making Alabama a perennial power on the national scene.
Since Stuedeman's arrival at Alabama, the Crimson Tide pitching staff has garnered nine All-American honors, 12 all-South Region honors, two SEC Pitchers of the Year, ten all-SEC honors, 16 SEC Pitcher of the Week awards, two National Player of the Week awards, an SEC tournament MVP, four NCAA All-Region tournament team pitchers as well as watching one of her pitchers garner NCAA All-Region tournament MVP.
Stuedeman has had an All-American under her tutelage in five straight seasons. While in charge of the pitchers, Alabama hurlers have combined to post a 526-139 (.791) record and have tossed 17 no-hitters, including a school record five in 2009. All-American Kelsi Dunne set an NCAA Postseason record by throwing back-to-back no-hitters at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional to propel Alabama to its sixth Women's College World Series berth. In just two seasons Dunne has tossed a school record six no-hitters.
Things always have a strange way of working out and for Stuedeman it could not have been more ironic. She was once a student at the University of Alabama, but only for a semester. She left because she wanted to play softball at the collegiate level. At the time the university did not offer softball as a varsity sport, so Stuedeman transferred to Huntingdon College in Montgomery. Stuedeman, a Birmingham native, was an All-American pitcher during her 1991-94 career at Huntingdon College.
During her four years at Huntingdon, she helped the team reach the national tournament twice, both times finishing third. She went on to become a graduate assistant at the University of West Alabama while earning her master's degree in Elementary Education. While at West Alabama, Stuedeman helped lead the team to the Gulf South Conference Championship in 1995, while the team's head coach was away from the team on maternity leave.The championship was the first in the `90s for the West Alabama program and the first winning season of the decade as well.
After spending two seasons at UWA, Stuedeman went to the University of Alabama-Huntsville as an assistant coach for her sister, Les Stuedeman, for the next three years. Her main priority was working with the pitchers and outfielders.
During her stint there, the UAH pitching staff ranked in the Top five nationally in Division II in ERA all three seasons. She helped lead the program to two Gulf South Conference championships, three NCAA Regional appearances and a trip to the 1999 Division II National Tournament.
She was also a part of the staff that was named South Region Coaching Staff of the Year in 1999. She then accepted the head coaching position at East Limestone High School, in Limestone County, where she led the team to its first winning season since 1994, finishing one game shy of the state tournament.