OREM, Utah - After 21 years at Utah Valley University and 14 years as head softball coach, Todd Fairbourne announced his resignation on Tuesday.
"We are saddened by Coach Fairbourne's resignation, but support his decision," UVU Director of Athletics Michael V. Jacobsen said. "Todd has done a great job with our softball program, winning a national championship at the Junior College level, and also finding success in our Division I era. His teams have been consistently competitive in both the Great West and Pacific Coast Softball Conferences. He's been a significant figure in this athletic department for over 20 years and he will be missed."
Fairbourne began volunteering with the softball program in 1991 and accepted an assistant coaching position the following year. He was promoted to head coach in 1997 and coached for six years before stepping down to try his hand at athletic administration. He was named an assistant athletic director for Internal Affairs and sports information director in 2002. Following UVU's jump from Junior College athletics to NCAA Division I, Fairbourne resumed his head coaching position in 2005 and has held it for the last eight years.
Fairbourne recently surpassed the 400-career win mark at Utah Valley and steps down with an overall record of 407-343-2. He also led his club to the school's only national championship in 2000. That year, his team won 46 games and went a perfect 5-0 at the NJCAA National Tournament. During his six years as head man at the JC level, Fairbourne's teams compiled a 242-94 (.720 winning percentage) record.
"This is a very, very difficult decision for me and my wife, but we've decided that it is the right time for me to step down," Fairbourne said. "I want to be able to spend more time with my family and am looking forward to pursuing other opportunities on the administrative side of things."
Current assistant coach Rachel Hartgrove will take over as the interim head coach for the current (2012-13) academic year.
"Assistant coach Rachel Hartgrove will be our interim head coach and we look forward to her leadership," Jacobsen said.
Hartgrove is in her seventh season of coaching with the Wolverine softball program after a standout four-year playing career at Utah Valley. She, along with Fairbourne, helped guide UVU to its most successful year in the Division I ranks last year. The UVU softball team won a school record 33 games and its first-ever Division I conference title, as it took home the Great West Conference Tournament Championship.
As a player, Hartgrove hit over .300 each season and was named to the Division I All-Independent First Team for three-consecutive years. She was also named First Team All-SWAC during her freshman season when UVU was still a NJCAA member.
Hartgrove prepped at Pleasant Grove High School where she was a three-time All-State player. At UVU she was named the Division I Independent Player of the Year her junior year and the UVU Female Athlete of the Year her senior season.
"It's going to be a challenge to fill in for someone who has been here as long as coach Fairbourne has. But we've got a bunch of great kids who will be ready to step up," Hartgrove said. "I've been here for 10 years now (four playing and six coaching) and Todd has taught me pretty much everything about softball that I know. With him leaving I'm looking forward to coaching these girls, creating my own style and philosophies and team atmosphere."
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company