Just any job won’t suffice for Bison co-head softball coach

FARGO - The building of Jamie Trachsel's resume has been a steady progression of added duties for the North Dakota State co-head softball coach. Now, 13 years since arriving in Fargo, she's as marketable as ever.

North Dakota State co-head softball coach Jamie Trachsel was offered the head coaching job at Boise State last summer, but opted to stay with the Bison. Keith Sanpei / North Dakota State Athletics
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FARGO – The building of Jamie Trachsel’s resume has been a steady progression of added duties for the North Dakota State co-head softball coach. Now, 13 years since arriving in Fargo, she’s as marketable as ever.
Whether that translates into leaving the Bison is perhaps a matter of time – if the timing is right anyway.
“I can’t say it would be one thing for sure, I don’t even think it would be a handful of things,” she said. “I have some factors in my mind that I know I would want to leave for, but it has to feel right and it has to be the right time.”
It didn’t feel right last summer, when Boise State offered her the heading coaching position. She turned it down.
Perhaps the fact the Broncos softball program doesn’t come near its highly-visible football program in terms of success could have contributed to that. Boise finished 12-42 this season, although there were a few winning seasons after starting the program in 2009. Why not Boise?
“They’re just different,” she said of the NDSU and Boise programs. “With where we’re at now, the kids we have, right now this was the best decision for me. This is the place I want to be right now.”
The place the team is right now is the NCAA tournament in Eugene, Ore. The Bison play Fresno State in the first round today at the University of Oregon’s Howe Field. It’s the sixth appearance in the NCAA tourney for the Bison in the past seven years. On Tuesday, the program cracked the top 25 rankings in the regular season for the first time in its short but prestigious Division I history.
Trachsel has seen it all. She started as a graduate assistant for two years when the Bison were still an NCAA Division II program. That was followed by the five-year Division I reclassification where it was essentially head coach Darren Mueller and her figuring out how to best build a DI-level program.
They obviously figured it out, and that’s why it will most likely take a unique offer to get Trachsel out of NDSU.
“What we built, how we built it, the way we run it, the things we’ve been able to do and the type of kids we have,” she said. “I don’t stay just for the kids because there’s more than that, but they’re a big reason why and I think no matter where you are, they’re a huge part of that because they can make or break the experience and what you can accomplish together.”
NDSU has been able to make it for a couple of reasons: the administration has given the coaching staff the resources to recruit in the off-season and travel during the season. The Bison have nine California players on their roster with sprinkles of players from other states not named North Dakota or Minnesota.
Trachsel has long been regarded as a top-notch recruiter and defensive coach over the years. She calls every pitch from her spot in the Bison dugout. But in the last couple of years, Mueller has given her some of the offensive side of the game, too, like being the third base coach.
“She always wants to learn and that’s the biggest thing for a coach,” he said.
Trachsel was also up for an assistant position at Penn State two years ago, but that went to somebody else. Boise was her only job offer to date. Mueller has also turned down coaching positions in the past, most notably Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“Every year she has opportunities, people ask about her and she’s a great coach,” Mueller said. “So we’re fortunate to have her here. She definitely could be a head coach at any place in the country.”
Mueller, in his 14th year, has a 501-265 record for a .654 winning percentage. Trachsel is 180-92 in five years as a co-head coach including 98-23 in the Summit League. NDSU has had nine straight 30-win seasons and reached 40 this season for the first time since 2004.
That kind of success is hard to leave.
“They’re so passionate about the program and the game and they’re the ones you want to grind for,” said Bison catcher Alyssa Reina. “They want us to be great and they want it for us, not themselves. They see our potential and that want us to reach our max potential.”

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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