Courtney Deifel Haters Come out of Woodwork with Half-Baked Idea

Source: Craven Whitlow

“Gutless” probably isn’t the word. “Chicken” maybe. Definitely “pathetic.”

Before getting more into that, a bit of back story: Back in the late 2000s, a lot of local newspapers and legitimate news organizations got in bed with Facebook in an effort to draw eyeballs to their legitimate stories. Scared of being abandoned by idiots who could barely read said legitimate stories, they began to cater to such idiots. Pathetic gutless chickens declined to use their real names in comment sections and went to the nascent social media platforms under pseudonyms, often political or sexual in nature. 

Newspapers and legitimate news organizations have been screwed ever since. 

Nowadays, rare is the human being who posts even slightly provocatively under his or her real name. The same people who will turn around and tell the real person they’re a keyboard warrior are calling for someone’s job behind monikers like “Rod6275” and “3kgthog.” 

At least in the examination of this article, I learned that the online forum Hogville, where chaos reigns, was alive and well. Sadly, it hasn’t been taken out to pasture and shot like one of Kristi Noem’s dogs (political nature, indeed). Nor will it ever be, not as long as human beings have opinions, one of the latest of which pervading Arkansas athletics circles is the case for firing Courtney Deifel.

Courtney Deifel Bonafides

For those of you regular humans who still use your real names, Deifel is the Arkansas softball coach. She just finished her ninth season running the program and has taken the Razorbacks to seven of the possible eight NCAA Tournaments. The problem, those proclaiming a sacking believe, is that she just finished her ninth season sooner than many hoped. 

This past weekend, Arkansas hosted the Fayetteville Regional for the fourth straight year. The bunch have yet to miss since coming back from a COVID-19-shortened 2020 season. But for the second straight year, Arkansas failed to progress out of their own Regional. This year’s exit was especially embarrassing, apparently, as the Hogs went 1-2, falling to both the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in Bogle Park, a mistake so unforgivable that the all-time winningest coach in school history deserves to be shown the door.

Certainly a failure to even make the Regional final is embarrassing. Not a single other team who hosted over the weekend fell to such a fate. Only one other team, Louisiana, failed to make the Super Regional round. But a fireable offense? It’s softball, y’all. Relax.

That’s not a dig at the sport of softball. It’s a dig at what collegiate softball is. Since becoming an NCAA sport, guess how many different universities have won the national championship? Hint: It’s only four more than the number of years that Deifel’s been in Fayetteville. How many teams have more than one national championship? Six, only three of which have more than two.

It’s not college basketball where just about any March Madness-caliber team could break into the national title game if they get hot enough. It’s not even women’s college basketball, which is largely dominated by the same 10 programs just about every year. No, softball is even more exclusive. In the last 10 years, Oklahoma has six titles, Florida two, UCLA one and Florida State one. The Gators, by the way, are one of only two SEC teams to ever win a national title, at least until OU joins the conference next year.

But maybe the doubters’ suggestion isn’t that Arkansas win a national title or else it’s a failure, but Arkansas should at least make the College World Series, regularly, right? Hardly true, either. Arkansas was one of the worst softball programs in the SEC before Deifel arrived. The school has literally never been to the College World Series in softball. They’ve since come close twice. Some would call that progress.

Haters’ preference, though, is to look for regression. They’ll point to things like Arkansas’ inability to respond competitively in their season-ending loss to Villanova, as Deifel discusses below, and blow it up to be a bigger deal than it is.

Like political extremists who are angry that women have jobs or who prefer a country not exist, some people just want to look at the glass as half-empty. If things aren’t moving forward, they’re going backward. It’s that sort of thinking that got us to where we are in this country in the first place, though, so it really shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the best softball coach Arkansas has ever had is hearing from extremists in an extremist state that she’s no longer up to snuff to coach Arkansas softball.

Arkansas Softball Regressing?

“She is a good coach, but that is all she is,” writes “Carrick” on Hogville. “I don’t want a good coach. I want a great coach that could help us win a National Championship.  I think Arkansas softball needs a new head coach that can take us to the promise[d] land. Courtney has proved she can’t.”

“Next year the conference is only going to get tougher while we are getting worse.”

All this hardly means Deifel gets a pass from scrutiny. Arkansas’ offensive statistics have dropped in each of the last three years, from a .318/.419/.594 slash line in SEC play (a better mark than overall when examining hierarchy) to .245/.327/.397. And two straight years of losing in an own-hosted Regional isn’t good, especially in a sport in which the true national title contenders are clearly better than the next-best. 

Arkansas is solidly in that second group and should expect to be more often than not after what Deifel has turned the program into post-COVID. But that first group? The elite of the elite? No one really believes Arkansas is there yet or even, really, should be.

Except the pathetic gutless chickens, maybe.


For more on softball’s struggles, start watching at 28:20 here:

Hear from Mike Irwin on softball struggles at 16:25 here:

More on what Deifel has done for Arkansas softball below:

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