In 12 years as head coach at The University of Tulsa, John Bargfeldt has built TU softball into a nationally prominent program and one of the premier programs in its conference. After leading one of the top programs in Conference USA, Bargfeldt transitioned the Golden Hurricane into a new era in the American Athletic Conference, where Tulsa has claimed three league championships (2016-17 tournament titles, 2017 regular-season).
The program’s longest-tenured coach, Bargfeldt has the most wins and highest winning percentage in school history, and has built a program accustomed to winning championships. Under Bargfeldt, the Golden Hurricane has won a conference title in seven of his 12 seasons, totaling 12 league championships. TU earned C-USA regular season titles in 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2014, and C-USA tournament titles in 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2014. Since joining The American prior to the 2015 season, the Golden Hurricane has claimed back-to-back tournament crowns in 2016 and 2017 along with the 2017 regular-season title. TU also has reached the NCAA Tournament nine times: 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017. Bargfeldt has been named conference Coach of the Year three times: 2011, 2012 and 2014, while the entire coaching staff was recognized as the 2017 American Athletic Conference Coaching Staff of the Year.
Bargfeldt has led the Golden Hurricane to a winning record in each of his 12 seasons, and he is the only coach in Tulsa history to post as many as four winning seasons. Bargfeldt has compiled a career record of 464-225-1, a .673 winning percentage and has won at least 40 games six times.
Under Bargfeldt, TU has finished third place or higher in its conference each year, and has a .701 conference winning percentage (169-72).
In his tenure, Tulsa has produced six All-Americans, 56 all-conference players, 34 first-team selections and 23 NFCA all-region players. In addition, the Golden Hurricane boasts 20 C-USA Academic Medalists, 12 C-USA All-Academic Team members, four CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and six Academic All-District student-athletes. Pitcher Aimee Creger, a three-time All-American, became Tulsa’s first student-athlete to represent the United States on the USA Softball Women’s National Team. Additionally, four players – Jill Barrett, Samantha Cobb, Shelby Estocado and Caitlin Everett – all represented the United States on the USA Baseball Women’s National Team. In 2014, Barrett was Tulsa’s first second-team All-American, and the first player to earn Academic All-American and All-America honors in the same season.
Bargfeldt-coached players dominate the TU record books, holding 26 single season and 30 career records, and his teams have set school records in 23 categories. In addition, more than 20 of Bargfeldt's pupils rank among the top-10 in various areas, filling every major individual career statistical category.
Since 2006, the TU offense has set 23 separate single-season school records, including batting average, hits, runs, RBI, home runs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. The Hurricane defense has twice matched the school fielding percentage record (.975) and in 2010 committed a program-low 36 errors. His pitching staffs have set seven records, including strikeouts, fewest hits allowed and opponent batting average.
Following the program’s first championship in The American and another NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016, the 2017 squad became Bargfeldt’s sixth team to win at least 40 games, claimed the program’s first AAC regular-season title and again advanced to the postseason with its second consecutive league tournament championship. Pitcher Emily Watson set single-season records with 30 wins, 246.2 innings pitched and 14 shutouts, which also led the nation, and she became just the second pitcher in program annals to total more than 300 strikeouts in a campaign with 348. She also set a team and American Athletic Conference single-game record with 21 strikeouts and was named a second-team NFCA All-American after earning NFCA All-Region honors. In addition, Watson earned The American Pitcher of the Year and The American Tournament Most Outstanding Player laurels. She was joined on the all-region teams by Haley Meinen (second team), Julia Hollingsworth (third team) and Maggie Withee (third team).
At the NCAA Norman Regional, the Hurricane defeated Arkansas and North Dakota State to start a regional 2-0 for the first time in program history before dropping a pair of tight contests against eventual national champion and regional host Oklahoma. Tulsa finished the campaign ranked No. 22 in both the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll.
In 2015, the Golden Hurricane began a new era with its first season as a member of the American Athletic Conference, and won the American Athletic Conference Tournament Championship in 2016 with three shutout wins, including two over ranked opponents, in the tournament played at the Collins Family Softball Complex. In 2015, TU placed second in the league in its first season with a 36-18 overall record and a 12-6 mark in conference play. The Hurricane scored more than 300 runs in 2015 for just the second time in program history, and saw the single season RBI record eclipsed by senior Julie Kernen. Kernen went on to become Tulsa’s fourth Academic All-American.
Bargfeldt recorded both his benchmark 300th and 350th wins a record-shattering 2014 season. Tulsa left C-USA with its fifth regular season championship and fourth tournament title, posted a 53-9 record, and ended the season ranked No. 18 in USA Today/NFCA Top 25 – its highest-ever position in the final polls. The Hurricane set a total of 19 team and 13 individual single season records.
In 2013, the Golden Hurricane posted a 42-16-1 record and a 19-5 mark in C-USA play, matching the program’s best conference record. TU climbed as high as a No. 17 national ranking – the highest in school history – tied for second place in C-USA, just one-half game out of first, and reached its sixth NCAA Regional. The Hurricane placed four players on the first-team All-C-USA team and three players on the NFCA Midwest Region Team. TU also set four offensive records, and players set five individual single season marks.
The 2012 team won the C-USA regular season and tournament championships and played in the NCAA Regional. The Hurricane finished with a 42-14 record and set the mark for the fewest losses by a TU team, and placed four players on the first-team All-C-USA team and three players on the NFCA Midwest Region Team. In addition to posting the fewest losses in school history, TU set five single season offensive records.
Bargfeldt’s 2011 squad won its third C-USA regular season title and reached the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time. Tulsa, the No. 2 seed in the regional for the first time, advanced to the final round of the NCAA Norman Regional, within one win of the Super Regionals. The Golden Hurricane, driven by pitching and defense, set five school pitching records and matched the school record for highest fielding percentage. Pitcher Aimee Creger became Tulsa’s second NFCA Third-Team All-America selection, and the first freshman to receive the honor.
In 2010, Bargfeldt became the winningest coach in school history. His squad finished among the top three in C-USA and won at least 13 league games for the fifth straight year. TU produced four all-conference selections. Lauren Lindsay (2007-10) became Tulsa's All-American when she was selected as a 2010 NFCA Third-Team All-America.
The 2009 season was one of the most accomplished in school history. The Hurricane posted record of 40-17 overall and 16-4 in C-USA play, and won the programs' second C-USA regular season and tournament championships to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in school history. The Golden Hurricane won its first NCAA Regional game, and advanced to the championship round of the NCAA Norman Regional. In addition, the 2009 squad set 10 team and five individual single season records.
In 2008, Bargfeldt led Tulsa to a 34-25 overall record and 14-10 in C-USA play and its second NCAA Regional appearance. That squad tied a school record in on-base percentage with .352, set by his 2006 team. Hurricane players in 2008 set or tied seven single-season school records.
In 2007, he led Tulsa to a 30-28 record to become the first coach in program history to post winning seasons in his first two years at the helm. In his first season as skipper, Bargfeldt led TU to the program's first-ever conference championship, in addition to the school's first-ever NCAA Regional bid by winning Conference USA's automatic bid. In that campaign, Bargfeldt led TU to a 34-24 record and three tournament titles to go along with its regular-season and post-season conference championships. Tulsa also set team records for walks drawn and on-base percentage, all while playing in the fourth fewest games in the program's history.
Prior to coming to Tulsa, Bargfeldt served as assistant coach at Georgia Tech for the 2003-04 season. While at Tech, his primary duties involved working with the pitchers and catchers. He was the recruiting coordinator, served as the bench coach and was a batting practice pitcher for the Yellow Jackets.
While at Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets finished the 2004 season with a 49-17 record and an NCAA Regional appearance. Ranked as high as 18th in the country that season, Georgia Tech and third-team All-American Jessica Sallinger broke 15 school records while finishing fourth nationally in earned run average with a 0.97 mark. Tech also registered 29 shutouts in 2004, while defeating two top-10 teams for the first time in school history.
Before his one-year stint at Georgia Tech, Bargfeldt coached at Pendleton Heights High School and Pendleton Middle School for 22 years, including the 2004-05 school year. While there, he helped lead the Arabian varsity baseball team to five sectional championships and one regional title.
From 1980-82, Bargfeldt was an assistant baseball coach at Anderson University in Anderson, Ind., serving as pitching and hitting coach. He completed his bachelor's degree in 1981 while serving as an assistant coach at Anderson.
An NAIA Honorable Mention All-American in football and baseball, Bargfeldt was drafted in the 31st round of the 1977 Major League Baseball amateur draft by the Chicago Cubs.
Bargfeldt, a former ASA National Player Representative, was also a member of the ASA National Board of Directors (2000-2004). He served on the Men's National Team Selection Committee during that time as well. As a member of the board, he assisted with the selection of the coaching staff and the national team members. The 2002 team won the program's first Pan-American Qualifier Gold Medal.
As a member of the ASA's Men's Fast Pitch national team in 1991, Bargfeldt won a silver medal at the Pan American Games as the starting shortstop. In 1993, he was on the gold medal-winning team at the U.S. Sports Festival. He was also a five-time ASA Men's Fastpitch All-American.
Bargfeldt and his wife, Barbara, have three children: Kenny, Alexya and Jeb.