– On Monday, August 8, 2005, the Florida Tech Department of Athletics suffered a major loss, as head softball
coach Dr. Nancy Bottge lost her life following a long illness.
Bottge, 48, spent 11 seasons as head coach of the Panthers and never guided her teams to a losing record in every season she spent at Florida Tech. Late in
the 2005 season — on April 23 — in what no one ever imagined would be the next-to-last game of Bottge’s career, Florida Tech posted a 6-1 win over Sunshine
State Conference rival Nova Southeastern to mark the 500th win of her collegiate coaching career. Bottge’s final Florida Tech team posted the best record
ever by a Panther softball team, 33-15 (.688).
Sadly, what proved to be Bottge’s last game was one of her career highlights, defeating Sunshine State Conference opponent Rollins College 8-0 in five
innings on their senior recognition night. With two outs, senior captain Jesse Lawrence smacked one into left field for a three-run home run, putting Tech
In 21 years as a college head coach, Bottge amassed a career record of 501-314-2, giving her a .615 career winning percentage. While at Florida Tech, she
also garnered a winning record with the Panthers with 316-237-2.
The 2004 season was a special one for Florida Tech softball as the Panthers earned a spot in the NCAA Division II south region poll for the first time in
school history. During that special year, the Panthers posted a school-record 21-game unbeaten streak and clawed their way all the way to a #8 regional
Bottge’s 2003 team compiled a 30-20-1 (.598) overall record — and at the time the best in school history — and earned the coach her 400th career victory early
in the campaign.
In the early years of her 11-year stay at Florida Tech, Bottge made an immediate impact, piloting the Panthers to a 29-22 (.569) record in 1995, her first
year at the helm. This was a drastic improvement from the previous year’s 9-33 overall record. Interestingly enough, the 1995 squad featured seven of nine
starters from the previous season.
The following year Bottge’s squad set a new program record for victories, posting a 33-25 (.569) record, the first of two consecutive 30-win seasons for
Florida Tech. The Panthers went 30-25 (.545) in 1997.
Bottge’s 1995 and 1996 teams also produced Florida Tech’s first All-America softball player, Elisa Bartolo. Bartolo, who claimed back-to-back NCAA batting
titles, went on to gain induction into the Florida Tech and Sunshine State Conference Halls of Fame in 2001 and 2002-2003, respectively.
Before coming to Florida Tech, Bottge coached at Bloomfield College in New Jersey. Dr. Bottge received a bachelor’s degree in communications from William
Paterson College and a master’s degree in physical education from New York University. She earned her doctorate in education from the University of Central
Florida in 1996.
Donations may be made in her memory to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation or the Lance Armstrong