Four NCAA Div. III championships
Iowa Conference Coach of the Year--1990, 1993, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2011
George Wares is the winningest softball coach in NCAA Division III history.
In 2015, Wares guided the Dutch to a national record 27th NCAA Division III tournament berth in the past 30 years. In 31 seasons as Central College head coach starting in 1985, Wares has compiled a 1041-347-3 record (.749), including a 92-54 postseason mark.. He became the first Division III coach to record 1,000 wins on April 8, 2014.
In 2007, Wares was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Hall of Fame.
Wares has piloted the Dutch to national championships in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 2003 with national runner-up finishes in 1986 and 2001. His 27 NCAA playoff teams have finished in the national top eight 13 times, with 14 regional tournament titles, including 2015. The Dutch were third in the NCAA in 1990, 1994 and 1995, fourth in 1987 and 1989, fifth in 1997 and tied for seventh in 2013. Central has won or shared 12 Iowa Conference titles (1986, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2011, 2013).
Wares and his assistants were named the NFCA Div. III coaching staff of the year in 2003, after taking regional honors in 2001.
Wares has won or shared the Iowa Conference coach of the year award eight times (1990, 1993, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2011).
Wares completed two terms as the Division III representative on the NFCA Board of Directors and also served two three-year terms on the NFCA Division III All-America Selection Committee, including two years as chair. Also a former NFCA Coaching Staff of the Year Committee member, Wares now serves as the Midwest Region representative of the NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll Committee.
A 1976 Central graduate, Wares spent seven years as girls' softball coach at NESCO High School in Zearing , Iowa , posting a 214-94 record and piloting three squads to state tournament berths. He was named all-area coach of the year three times.
Wares also served as a high school boys' basketball coach for 18 years, including seven at NESCO and 11 at Pella High School . He compiled a 259-106 career record, earning four state tournament berths, with two state runner-up finishes. He served for four seasons as an assistant men's basketball coach at Central.
A highly regarded motivational speaker, Wares received a master's degree in counseling from Iowa State University. He worked as an at-risk counselor at Pella High School and as an academic counselor at Central.
He is the husband of associate head coach Alicia O'Brien.
Phone: (641) 628-5195
Associate head coach
After 18 seasons as a highly successful head coach at Western Connecticut State University , Alicia O'Brien joined the Dutch staff as associate head coach in the fall of 2006. She also serves as the athletics department's associate athletics director and senior woman administrator.
At Western Connecticut State O'Brien posted a 423-213-3 (.664) softball record, guiding the Colonials to a 28-18 mark and their eighth NCAA Division III tournament berth in 2006. She piloted Western Connecticut State to the NCAA finals in 2002 and her teams posted 20 or more wins 13 straight seasons, capturing Little East Conference championships three times since 2001. She served as the school's associate athletics director and senior woman administrator as well.
O'Brien has helped Central compile a 288-104 (.734) mark and six NCAA Division III tournament berths over eight seasons, giving her a 701-317-3 (.689) career record. She received the Easton Victory Club Award for her 500th win at the 2009 NFCA convention.
A Western Connecticut State University graduate and two-sport team captain, O'Brien also earned a master's degree there in counseling. She served on the school's Hall of Fame Committee and was a member of its Wellness Initiative. She served a five-year term as a Title IX consultant with the Danbury , Conn. school system. The long-time director of the Western Connecticut Softball Camp, O'Brien was also an NFCA Division III Regional All-America Committee member.
O’Brien was inducted into the Connecticut Softball Hall of Fame in 2001, the Danbury (Conn.) High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008, the Western Connecticut State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Little East Conference Hall of Fame in 2014.
O'Brien is the wife of Dutch head coach George Wares.
Phone: (641) 628-5434
Veteran instructor Gary Grimes joined the Central College softball staff as pitching coach in the fall of 2010.
Grimes served as pitching coach at Grand View Univ. for two seasons (1996-97) and at Drake Univ. for two seasons (1999-2000). He was also head softball coach at Colfax High School (1998-99) and is in his sixth season as head coach at Newton High School. He has also offered private pitching instruction for many years and has also worked at summer camps.
Grimes was also a high school head wrestling coach and assistant track and football coach at North Polk, Newton and Whitewater (Wis.).
Two of Grimes’s three daughters were collegiate softball pitchers. Casey pitched for three years at the Univ. of Oklahoma. Emily was the Iowa high school player of the year while at Pella Christian, then was a two-time all-America pick at Central, helping the Dutch win two NCAA Division III championships while earning four NCAA tourney berths.
Keith Jones, professor of psychology, psychology department chair and the Mark and Kay De Cook Endowed Chair in Character and Leadership Development, joined the Central softball staff as an assistant coach in the fall of 2013.
Jones has been a youth AAU and USSSA baseball and soccer coach the past 12 years, and coached the grades 9-10 spring baseball squad at Pella High School in 2012.
A University of Northern Iowa graduate, Jones received master's and doctoral degrees from West Virginia University and was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the West Virginia University Psychology Department. Jones joined the Central faculty in 2006.
“I’m extremely excited to work with students in this context,” Jones said. “Softball is a beautiful game that continually challenges all involved physically, socially and cognitively. The opportunity to work with these coaches and teach the game in a way that is consistent with the college mission is fantastic. In this program, character and leadership are emphasized more than tactics and skills.”
Phone: (641) 628-5182