Marla Looper resigns after eight disappointing seasons as Iowa softball coach

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

The Iowa Hawkeyes are looking for a new softball coach after Marla Looper resigned Wednesday "to pursue other professional opportunities."

Looper's contract was set to expire June 30 after her eight seasons as head coach at Iowa brought only a 172-247-1 record. The Hawkeyes were eliminated from the Big Ten Conference tournament in the second round Saturday. They finished the season 21-32.

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta was noncommital about Looper's future when asked by the Register on Monday at the Big Ten meetings in Rosemont, Illinois. He said he hadn't yet had a "chance to evaluate in a complete format," but that he planned to do so soon.

“We appreciate all of Marla’s contributions the past eight years,” Barta said in a university news release Wednesday. “Marla has served Iowa and her student-athletes well and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

Iowa softball coach Marla Looper, talking to her players during a game against Iowa State, is out after her eight seasons produced only 172 victories.

Iowa deputy director of athletics Barbara Burke will lead the effort to find a replacement for Looper. Burke is a former softball player and coach.

The job search comes at a time when Iowa is considering replacing 19-year-old Pearl Field. Burke announced in November that a feasibility study was underway to build a new softball field near the field hockey and women's soccer facilities on the west side of campus.

Pearl Field holds 1,500 fans but but occasionally has "water issues," Burke said.

“I have been fortunate to work with some amazing young women throughout my eight years,” Looper said in the news release. “They have excelled on the field, and in the classroom and community. I am thankful for the opportunity I have had to serve at Iowa and lead the women’s softball program.”