Linda Garza, a four-year letterwinner at UNLV, is in her fourth year as an assistant coach after coming to Purdue from the University of Tulsa, where she was an assistant coach during the 2005 season.
"The rich Purdue tradition runs deep, and I am thankful and honored to be a part of such an established University," Garza said. "Being a Boilermaker offers student-athletes the best of both worlds. Not only do they get a top notch education, but also the opportunity to compete in one of the finest conferences in the country. I believe in Coach Maher's vision and am grateful to learn and work along side her. Purdue softball has a bright future and I'm proud to be a part of it."
During her time with the Hurricane, Garza worked as an outfield coach, co-director of camps and travel coordinator. Her tenure at Tulsa followed a two-year stint at the University of Arkansas, during which Garza worked with the Lady Razorback outfielders, emphasizing footwork, fielding and throwing. She was the team's base running coach, working with players on mechanics and decision-making. She also coordinated scheduling, travel, camps and community service activities for the team.
"Linda is very charismatic and brings intensity, a passion for the game and a great knowledge of the game to our staff," Maher said. "She shares my philosophy in terms of our vision of where we want to take this program. She also connects well with student-athletes. She has developed a rapport with the athletes she has dealt with in the past and also with recruits. She is a great asset to the Purdue softball family."
Garza got her start in coaching during her playing days at UNLV. In addition to being an instructor at the Rebels' camps, she was an assistant coach for the Clovis Rockets Gold and 18-and-under teams. Her duties with the Rockets included organizing team practices, as well as working with players on hitting, basic skills and game strategies. After finishing her playing career at UNLV, Garza worked for one season as a student assistant coach with the team.
During her playing career from 1998 to 2001, Garza was a four-year starter at second base, third base and in the outfield. She started the last 155 games of her career, earning All-Mountain West Conference honors at third base as a senior after leading the Rebels in triples, RBI and sacrifice hits. All told, the four-time academic all-conference honoree boasted a .262 career batting average, while laying down 45 sacrifice hits in her career, just five short of the UNLV record. Garza ranks among the UNLV and Mountain West single season and career top 10 lists in several categories. She ended her career among the UNLV career top 10 in doubles, walks, hits and sacrifice hits. She also owns three spots among the Mountain West single-season records lists: eighth in assists (151 in 2000), ninth in fielding double plays (14 in 2000) and 10th in sacrifice bunts (13 in 2000).
As a prepster, Garza was a two-sport athlete and honor student at Hoover High School in Fresno, Calif. She lettered a total of seven times in softball and basketball and led the Patriot softball team to the league playoffs every year and was selected as its MVP her senior season.
Garza earned her bachelor's degree in health education from UNLV in May 2002.