Head Coach Dale Atkinson is entering his 20th season as the Lady Pioneers Softball coach. In 2017, IRSC advanced to the FCCAA Regional Tournament for the nineteenth consecutive year posting a season record of 42-17; finishing the regular season ranked 16th in the final NJCAA National Poll and winning the Southern Conference Championship. Under his direction Indian River has developed into one of the most respected softball programs in the nation posting a career record of 895-232. In nineteen seasons Coach Atkinson and his staff have received many coaching awards including:
- Fourteen Southern Conference Coach of the Year awards
- Five NJCAA Region 8A Coach of the Year awards
- Three FSCAA Coach of the Year awards
- National Junior College Coaching Staff of the Year
- NFCA Coach of the Year
- NFCA Southern Region Coaching Staff of the Year
- FSCAA Hall of Fame
During his tenure 197 of his players were named All-Conference, 76 players were named All-State, 27 players were named All Americans, 122 players have received scholarships to four-year universities but most importantly more than ninety five percent of the student athletes successfully completed the program and received their degrees. In eighteen seasons his teams have won:
- Fifteen Southern Conference Championships (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
- Three Florida State Championships (2002,2004,2005)
- NJCAA National Championship (2002)
In addition to winning championships, his teams have recorded:
- Five top five finishes in NJCAA National Championship Tournament
- Five FCCAA Region Championships (2002-2006)
Prior to coaching at Indian River Coach Atkinson headed the Fillies Fast-pitch softball program. In his five years with the Fillies, his teams won the 1996 ISA National Championship Tournament and the NSA Florida State Championship tournament in 1997. Numerous players from the Fillies also earned scholarships to play softball. Four of his Filly players earned NCAA All American nominations while playing at their respective universities.
In 1975, Coach Atkinson graduated from Martin County High in Stuart, Fl., and began working in his family’s business. In 1982 he purchased his own company and served as its president for 19 years. In 2002 Coach Atkinson sold his business and returned to school earning his AA and AS degrees with honors from Indian River State College in 2004. In 2005 Coach Atkinson completed his bachelor’s degree program at Florida Atlantic University graduating with a major in Social Science and a minor in Business. In 2013 Coach Atkinson received his Master’s degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University. He currently lives in Palm City with his wife, Denise, also a graduate of IRSC.
In addition to coaching, Coach Atkinson teaches and serves as the Assistant Athletic Director at Indian River State College.