Chris Helixon begins his 12th season as the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse head softball coach in 2016-17. He has led the Eagles to three appearances in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Tournament in the last eight years.
UWL made its first trip to the national tournament since 1986 with its Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Tournament title in 2009. The Eagles went 0-2 in the 2009 NCAA III Regional, but came back to record a 2-2 mark in the 2010 regional. UWL went 1-2 at the 2011 NCAA III Regional.
The Eagles finished 28-16 overall and 11-5 in the WIAC in 2011. The team was 38-9 overall and 16-0 in the conference in 2010, winning its first league title in school history. The Eagles won the WIAC Tournament in 2009 and 2010 under Helixon.
UWL has recorded nine straight winning seasons, finishing 26-14 overall and 10-4 in the WIAC in 2016. It marked the Eagles' ninth straight year with at least 20 overall victories.
The Eagles finished 20-15 in 2012, 21-14 in 2013, 25-13 in 2014 and 27-14 in 2015 under Helixon. The team advanced to the WIAC Tournament championship game in 2014.
UWL set school records for wins (39), winning streak (21), at-bats (1,317), runs (283), hits (431), RBI (254), doubles (67) and home runs (39) in 2010. The team also set pitching records for innings (322.0) and strikeouts (283).
For his efforts, Helixon was named the 2010 WIAC Coach of the Year.
The 2010 squad broke several school records set in 2009, including victories (34), runs (282), hits (412), doubles (65) and RBI (244). UW-L went 34-12 overall and 12-4 in the WIAC in 2009, also setting a school record with a .330 batting average. The team had pitching records for saves (7) and strikeouts (240).
The Eagles have had 26 players named to the All-WIAC First Team in Helixon's 11 years, including Megan Nelson, Brittany Baldwin and Caitlyn Hughes who were selected to the 2016 squad. Hughes was also selected the 2016 WIAC Pitcher of the Year, becoming the third player in school history to earn the honor.
It marked the seventh time in the last eight seasons UWL has had at least two players named to the All-WIAC First Team.
In 2010, Jenna Ahnen was named the WIAC Position Player of the Year while Heather Schultz was selected the league's Pitcher of the Year. Ahnen garnered the position player of the year award again in 2011, becoming the second player in conference history to earn the recognition.
Helixon has compiled a 272-173 (.611) overall record in his 11 seasons at UWL, ranking first in school history and seventh in the WIAC in career victories. He earned his 200th victory at UWL with a 10-2 win over Marian University (Wis.) March 17, 2014.
Helixon served as head softball coach at Viterbo University (Wis.) from 1998-2002 and was named the 2001 Midwest Classic Conference Coach of the Year. He compiled a 52-84-1 record at Viterbo (Wis.).
He is 324-257-1 (.558) in his collegiate career, earning his 300th victory in UWL's 14-1 win over Martin Luther College (Minn.) February 28, 2016.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in leadership psychology from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1990, Helixon was a three-year starter in the outfield for the Black Knights. He was awarded All-Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League Second-Team honors.
Helixon earned his master’s degree in sports administration from UWL in 1995 after a two-year graduate assistantship with the Eagles’ athletic department. He served as the assistant to the interim athletics director for the Eagles in 1998.
Helixon worked as an operations intern with the St. Paul Slam Professional Basketball Team in 1996-97 and as an operations/facilities intern with the University of Kentucky Athletics Association in 1995-96. He has played on numerous fastpitch softball teams - most notably the Menomonie Blues and Colorado Springs Blues.
Helixon, his wife Tracy, and children Isaac, Michael, and Ellie reside in Onalaska.
Tom Clements begins his ninth season as an assistant softball coach for UW-La Crosse in 2016.
He served as head softball coach at Lyle/Pacelli High School in Austin, Minnesota, from 1997 to 2002. During his tenure at Lyle/Pacelli, Clements compiled an overall record of 113-33 and coached six All-State selections, including three pitchers.
Lyle/Pacelli finished fourth in the Minnesota Class A State Tournament in 1999 and second in 2001.
Clements received the Minnesota Coaches Association Award for reaching 100 career victories and the Breaking Barriers Award in 2003 for the promotion of women's sports.
He was also selected to coach in the Minnesota State High School League Softball Series.
"I am thrilled to have Coach Clements on staff here at UWL," says Eagles' head coach Chris Helixon. "The student-athletes in the softball program have benefited greatly from his competitive spirit, his vast knowledge of the game, and his strong attention to detail."
Tia Teske starts her second season as an assistant coach at UW-La Crosse in 2016-17. Prior to coming to UWL, she served as an assistant coach at La Crosse (Wis.) Central High School for five seasons as the Red Raiders went 56-24 overall with two Mississippi Valley Conference championships and three Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) regional titles.
Teske earned her bachelor's degree in physical education and school health education from UWL in 2013. She played two seasons on the softball team as the Eagles earned the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Tournament title in 2009 and 2010. UWL went 12-4 in the WIAC regular season in 2009 and 16-0 in 2010.
The Eagles earned appearances in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Regional in 2009 and 2010.
A three-year varsity letter winner at Stevens Point (Wis.) Area Senior High, Teske earned softball all-state and all-conference honors her senior season. She was team captain of an undefeated state championship team as a senior.
"We are excited for Tia to join our coaching staff," said UWL head coach Chris Helixon. "Her passion for teaching and competing will have a positive impact on this program. As a softball student-athlete here at UWL, Tia was a tireless worker and an absolute joy to coach."