By Andrew Wheeler and Matt Folsom
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association will induct four new members to its Hall of Fame on Thursday evening. Three former coaches and one former player, will be honored at the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Banquet, Thursday evening at Bakersfield College, prior to the start of the 2017 CCCAA State Championships on Friday. All four members being recognized are the first individuals from their respective institutions to enter into the 3CFCA Hall of Fame.
Steve Cassady | Merced College | Coach
Cassady spent 20 years in the dugout for Merced College, coaching the Blue Devils from 1988-2008. In his two-decade career, Cassady won 607 games, led his team to five Central Valley Conference titles, and qualified for the postseason in 18 of his 20 years in charge.
On four separate occasions, Cassady was named the Central Valley Coach of the Year, and in 1999, was named the State Coach of the Year. Along with his accolades, Cassady also spent time as the Central Valley Conference Seeding Rep, and from 1999-2005 served as a member of the CCCAA Management Council.
Although he stepped aside from his coaching duties in 2008, Cassady has remained at Merced, serving as the college’s Athletic Director for the last 20 years.Cassady is a product of the California Community College system having graduated with his AA in political science from Hartnell College in 1963. He went on to earn a BA in labor economics from UCLA in 1966, and his MA in literature from San Francisco State in 1972.
In addition to his AD responsibilities at Merced, he is the owner of Literacy, Ink, a company specializing in writing and publishing. In 2012, he penned Bridging The Gap, a book that chronicles multiple narratives of the beneficiaries of the California Community College athletic system.
Don Bandy | Taft College | Coach
Bandy’s coaching career began on the football sidelines at Taft College, working as the college’s offensive line coach in 1978 before taking over head coaching duties in 1979. Under his guidance, Bandy helped the Cougars win national championships, in 1982 and 1984.
In 1987, Bandy became the head softball coach at Taft. In his 20 seasons, the Cougars won 387 games and a half dozen Central Valley Conference championships (all from 1988-1993). Bandy led his Taft squads to nine regional playoff appearances, and to the CCCAA State Championships in 1988, the only State softball championship appearance by the Cougars in the college’s history.
Bandy would go on to be named Central Valley Conference Coach of the Year all six seasons he led his team to a conference title. Bandy was also an active member in the California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association, serving as the President of the CCCFCA Executive Committee.
Bandy got started in the community college system as a student-athlete, playing football at Compton Community College from 1964-1965. He went on to play at the University of Tulsa before being drafted by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round of the 1967 NFL Draft. Bandy would play two seasons for the Redskins before retiring from the game. Bandy is married to current Taft College Volleyball Coach and Athletic Director Kanoe Bandy, and they have one adult son, Stewart, who played college football at Pittsburg State University in Kansas.
Kelly Ford | Mt. San Antonio College | Coach
Ford enters the 3CFCA Hall of Fame as the only active softball coach from this year’s class. Ford, who spent 11 seasons with the Mounties, is currently the head coach at Cal State Fullerton. While in charge of the Mounties, Ford led Mt. SAC to unprecedented success, winning CCCAA State Championship crowns in 2003, ‘05, ‘07, and ‘09.
In addition to her four state titles, Ford led the Mounties to eight regional championships, seven South Coast Conference Championships and a 455-102-1 (.816) overall record. Ford was named the SCC Coach of the Year five times, and was selected the SCC All Sports Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2007.
Along with her prowess on the diamond, Ford served as an Executive Rep and Seeding Rep for the South Coast Conference, and also served as Co-President of the 3CFCA. Ford also sat on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America voting committee, along with the NFCA’s Recruiting and Coach of the Year committees.
In 2012, Ford left Mt. SAC for Cal State Fullerton. In her just her third year (2016) in charge, Ford led the Titans to a Big West Conference Championships and their first NCAA Division I Softball Championship appearance in seven years. Ford led Cal State Fullerton to another conference title in 2017. Her Titans will open up the 2017 NCAA Division I Softball Championship tournament this weekend at UCLA.
Ford got her collegiate playing career started at Central Arizona College, helping the Vaquera's to back-to-back NJCAA national titles. She later played at Oklahoma, where she received her BA in education in 1992. Ford went on to earn her masters in physical education from Azusa Pacific.
Heather DeMuth Cacciatore | Ohlone College | Player
DeMuth dominated the circle in her two seasons for the Ohlone Renegades during the 1990-1991 seasons. DeMuth compiled a 42-8 career record, fanning 319 batters in the process. DeMuth threw seven one-hitters in her career and had two no-hitters. As a freshman, DeMuth posted a 0.91 ERA, before a sophomore campaign in which she recorded a minuscule 0.19 ERA.
In both seasons, DeMuth helped take the Renegades to fourth-place finishes at the CCCAA State Championships. In her sophomore season, DeMuth put together one of the most dominate postseason runs, recording 20 shutout innings. DeMuth was named the Coast Conference North Division Pitcher of the Year as both a freshman and a sophomore, earning 3CFCA All-State nods in both seasons as well.
A 3.0 student, DeMuth went on to earn a scholarship to Saint Mary's College in Moraga, Calif.