Canisius College head softball coach Mike Rappl announced today that former Niagara University head softball coach Al Dirschberger has joined the Golden Griffins' coaching staff. Dirschberger recently retired from Niagara after spending 22 years at the helm of the Purple Eagle program.
"I obviously coached against Al for a long time when he was at Niagara, but we also coached together for three years in the Empire State Games," Rappl said. "I am really looking forward to adding him to our staff. He knows the game and he knows the MAAC. I feel this is going to be very, very beneficial to our program here at Canisius."
Dirschberger ended his 22-year reign at Niagara as the program's winningest softball coach and helped the Purple Eagles win the 1998 MAAC Championship, which earned the team a berth in the NCAA Tournament. In that year, Dirschberger's squad defeated Robert Morris in the NCAA play-in round in a best-of-three series, joining Rappl as the only two conference coaches to earn an NCAA Tournament victory.
A two-time MAAC Coach of the Year (2000 and 2007), he coached three MAAC Players of the Year, three MAAC Rookie of the Year, a total of 36 all-conference players and 89 MAAC All-Academic honorees. A 1997 graduate of Medaille College, Dirschberger spent six years coaching football, basketball and track and field at Cheektowaga Central High School prior to taking over the Niagara softball program. He also coached the St. Mary's High School girl's basketball team from 1993-2000.
The Canisius softball team closed out the 2012 season with a 20-30 overall record and an 11-5 mark in MAAC play, which earned the Griffs' the No. 3 seed in the 2012 MAAC Softball Championship. The postseason appearance marked the 21st time in the last 23 years that the Blue and Gold have earned a berth in the conference's postseason event. Canisius will return 10 position players and three pitchers to the 2013 roster.