Garza returns home to lead Bulldog SoftballGarza looks to add to the program's rich history with passion and intensity as she becomes the fourth head softball coach at Fresno State Read More
Linda Garza, a Fresno native, enters her first season at the helm of the Fresno State softball program following over 14 years of collegiate coaching experience, including the last four seasons at the helm of the UC Riverside program in which the team won 39 and 32 games in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Garza also led Wright State to a 31-win season, Horizon League title and an automatic NCAA tournament berth in 2010.
Prior to her time at UC Riverside, Garza was an associate head coach at Cal Poly (2010-12), head coach at Wright State (2009-10), and an assistant coach at Purdue (2005-09), Tulsa (2004-05) and Arkansas (2002-04).
In the summer of 2012, Garza took over an 11-year-old UC Riverside program that had yet to have a winning season and averaged only 17.4 wins per season. The Highlanders went 13-33 in 2011 and by 2015 she led them to a 39-17 record and the 14th-best ERA (2.13) in the nation. The team averaged 28.8 wins under the leadership of Garza and she coached over 10 All-Big West student-athletes, three NFCA all-region performers, and back-to-back 20-game winning pitchers in 2015 and 2016.
Cox enters her first year as Fresno State assistant softball coach under first-year head coach Linda Garza.
Cox brings with her extensive coaching and playing experience, including the last four seasons with Garza at UC Riverside. She has coached collegiately for over 12 years, played professionally for the Philadelphia Force and was a standout for Cal State Fullerton.
As the associate head coach in 2016 and an assistant coach from 2012-15 for the Highlanders, Cox was the primary pitching instructor and mentored two 20-game winners, the 2015 national leader in saves, and the 2015 Co-Big West Pitcher of the Year with a 30-10 record. In 2015, UC Riverside ranked 14th nationally in ERA (2.13) and saw the program’s first no-hitter.
Justin Shults comes to Fresno State following two seasons as assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at Miami University in Ohio, where he helped guide the RedHawks to back-to-back 30-win seasons, a Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth in 2016. Shults’ on-field duties focused on hitting, infield and gameday defense.
Prior to his time at Miami, Shults spent two seasons as assistant coach at Southwestern Oklahoma State, where he mainly assisted with hitting, outfield and recruiting. He helped guide six players to earn spots on the All-Great American Conference Team.
As a baseball player, Shults spent one season in the Houston Astros organization after a highly decorated playing career at UC Riverside, earning 2010 All-American and All-Region honors as a junior. He was also a two-time All-Big West selection.