This is Fernandez's second stint as a full-time assistant coach for UCLA (1997-99, 2007-), also serving as a volunteer assistant from 2000-04. In 14 previous seasons with Fernandez on staff, the Bruins have posted a 649-178-1 (.784) record and have claimed four NCAA Championships in 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2010. UCLA has also won Pac-10 titles in 1999, 2002 and 2009. The program has been honored as the NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year twice in 2004 and 2010. Arguably the greatest pitcher in softball history, Fernandez has coached seven Bruin hurlers to 13 All-American awards.
Fernandez is a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist, having helped Team USA to victories in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. In 1996, Fernandez shined in the United States' 3-1 gold-medal victory over China, recording the final three outs to earn a save. She went 1-1 with a 0.33 ERA in softball's inaugural appearance in the Olympics in Atlanta.
In the 2000 Sydney Games, Fernandez pitched the U.S. to victory in both the semifinal win over Australia and the gold-medal game against Japan. She established an Olympic single-game strikeout record with 25 in a round-robin game against Australia and posted a 0.47 earned run average and 52 strikeouts. In 2004, Fernandez was Team USA's top hitter and pitcher, posting a .545 batting average (12-for-22), which set a new record for an Olympic tournament. For the third-consecutive Games, she was also in the circle for the final out of the gold-medal contest, a 5-1 victory over Australia. Fernandez was selected as an alternate to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Away from the U.S. National Team, Fernandez is a member of the ProFastPitch X-treme Tour (PFX), which she has played in for each of the past six summers. In 1999, Fernandez was named the Amateur Softball Association/USA Softball Female Athlete of the Year. As a pitcher and third baseman, she helped the USA Softball Women's National Team to gold medals at both the Pan American Games and the Canada Cup. She also helped the California Commotion win the ASA Women's Major Fast Pitch championship for the fourth consecutive time.
Fernandez played at UCLA from 1990-93 and completed her psychology degree in 1995. A three-time winner of the sport's Honda Award, Fernandez became the first softball player to win the prestigious Honda-Broderick Cup in 1993, given to the most outstanding collegiate female athlete in all sports. A four-time, first-team All-American, Fernandez led the Bruins to two national championships (1990 & 1992) and two runner-up finishes (1991 & 1993). She was also All-Region and All-Pac-10 first-team each season and Pac-10 Player of the Year her final three years.
With a miniscule 0.22 earned run average, Fernandez went 93-7 with 784 strikeouts. Her ERA ranks second in NCAA history and her 74 shutouts are tops at UCLA and ninth in the NCAA annals. In her junior and senior seasons, Fernandez had the lowest ERA in the nation (0.14 in 1992, 0.25 in 1993), sporting a perfect 29-0 mark in `92. She tossed 11 career no-hitters, including a pair in the 1993 College World Series, along with two perfect games. She ranks second in UCLA history in ERA and fourth in wins and shutouts.
Fernandez was just as powerful at the plate, batting .382 with 15 home runs and 128 runs batted in. She hit .401 in her junior season, but eclipsed that mark by more than 100 points in her senior campaign, batting an NCAA-best .510 with 11 homers and 45 RBI. Fernandez ranks in the UCLA Top 10 in numerous offensive categories, including sixth in average and fourth in hits.
In 2003, Fernandez became the eighth Bruin softball player to be inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.
Fernandez and Mike Lujan, who were married in August 2002, have a son, Antonio (7), and reside in Long Beach.