Softball Coaches

Nikki Bethurum

Nikki Bethurum

Head Coach
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Coming off the most successful season in nearly 20 years, the reigning ACCAC and Region I Coach of the Year Nikki Bethurum enters her 12th season as the 2nd winningest coach in school history.
Bethurum tenure at AWC has already amassed over 400 career wins and included the Matador’s incredible run in 2019, the second trip to the NJCAA Softball Tournament in her time.
Among the many accolades, Arizona Western extended a streak of seven straight seasons above .500 with a 53-12 season, the best in her time in Yuma.
Two players earned NJCAA All-American Status in 2019 adding to a litany of All-Americans to play at AWC under Bethurum. Prior to that, she coached two-time ACCAC Player of the Year Jessica Flores, and in 2014, she took the program to the NJCAA National Tournament for the first time since 2001. The top-seeded Matadors wound up finishing 8th overall with a 49-9 overall record (39-5 in ACCAC play).
In addition to her recent success, Bethurum got out of the gates very quickly as a head coach, taking advantage of her first opportunity to run her own program by leading the Lady Matadors to wins in the first round of the Region I Playoffs in both 2010 & 2011-the first time the Matadors had seen the postseason since 2006.
Bethurum earned the opportunity to be a head coach in 2010 as Jerry Smith saw her focus and after talking to longtime University of Arkansas at Monticello Head Softball Coach Alvy Early about what she did for him as his lead assistant. Early gave Bethurum a lot of extra coaching duties along with her duties as Recruiting Coordinator and pitching coach during her three-year stint at UAM. Bethurum’s tutelage helped lead the Lady Cotton Blossoms to the Gulf South Conference West Championship and a berth in the NCAA Division II South Regional Tournament in her first season on the staff, and in 2009, she helped lead the Blossoms to a 38-16 overall mark, a 2nd-place finish in the GSC’s West Division, and her pitching staff featured the conference’s Pitcher of the Year.
Bethurum made the transition from player to coach very quickly. A 19-win pitcher as a senior for Downey High School and a member of four different traveling softball teams that all qualified for nationals, Bethurum was the first signee of the 2001 recruiting class for University of California-Riverside in the inland empire.
Bethurum was the top arm at UCR before deciding to leave California for the University of Louisiana-Monroe. Bethurum was a All-Southland Conference Honorable Mention as a junior and made the honor roll all three years in Louisiana. Bethurum holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from ULM while graduating with honors in 2006. She earned he Master’s Degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock in 2009 and is a Professor of Mathematics at AWC in addition to her coaching duties.


Sally Gastelo

Sally Gastelo

Assistant Coach

After a successful playing career at the University of North Texas, Arizona Western College and Kofa High School, Local legend Sally Gastelo is back in Yuma for her second year as an assistant coach for the Matador Softball team.

Gastelo brings a track record of winning and joins a coaching staff that she played two seasons under to begin her collegiate career. Gastelo has been apart of winning programs everywhere she has been dating back to her high school days at Kofa where she was named the Yuma Sun Rotary Player of the Year after hitting .530 in 2015 and a second team all-region performer as apart of a 19-0 squad. A complete athlete, Gastelo was named Yuma County Female Athlete of the Year in 2013 and lettered four years in volleyball and basketball while garnering all-region honors.

Gastelo will focus her athleticism and knowledge on the Lady Matador outfielders while also running the strength and conditioning for Arizona Western Softball. In addition to her coaching duties, Gastelo runs the student success center for athletics.


Mark Garcia

Mark Garcia

Assistant Coach

Mark Garcia has been apart of AWC Softball for the past 16 seasons and has made the program better ever since joining the staff in 2004. Garcia has done a little bit of everything for the three Matador head coaches he’s worked for over the last decade, and Nikki Bethurum credits Garcia’s work with the team’s catchers as one of the big reasons why the Lady Matadors continue to reach the playoffs. Garcia has seen a total of eleven Matador Softball teams reach the postseason during his tenure, including two Region I Championships and NJCAA National Tournament appearances, seven Region I Semifinals appearances and a Region I runner-up squad.
Garcia hasn’t just been a top-level coach in the sport of softball. As a player, he’s played primarily as a catcher in men’s fast-pitch softball at the National and World level, and later pitched for a team in Mexico. Mark’s coaching experience also includes a local travel team, and brings strong management skills to the program from his current position as a manager at Albertson's Super Market. Garcia is married to Laura and has three children, Mark Jr., Angie and Erin.


Miguel Villarreal

Miguel Villarreal

Assistant Coach

No coach has been around Arizona Western longer than Miguel Villarreal, impacting both of AWC’s spring sports. After joining AWC Baseball as a catcher in the 1980’s, Villarreal studied under John Stratton, the long tenured Matador Head Coach. It was Stratton who inspired Villarreal to begin coaching.
Villarreal began coaching summer travel teams in softball, and even spending time as an assistant at Kofa High School before coming to AWC. Villarreal has honed that craft since joining the Lady Matador Softball staff and helped developed numerous All-Conference and All-Region performers and being apart of three trips to the National Championship tournament in Yuma.


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