Mike Larabee is entering his third season at the helm of the FIU softball program and boasts over two decades of collegiate coaching experience.
During his second season in 2023, Larabee made terrific strides in elevating the program as he guided the Panthers to their most regular-season wins in four seasons, the most conference victories in five seasons and a pair of conference sweeps for the first time since 2018.
FIU doubled its number of conference wins in Larabee’s second season and advanced to the Conference USA Championship for the first time since 2018.
In addition, Larabee has implemented an exciting style of play that saw the Panthers steal the seventh-most bases in a season in program history with 82 in 2023 – which also marked the highest single-season total for the FIU since 2017.
A pair of newcomers established themselves as national leaders during their first season with the Panthers as freshman catcher Isabella Perez was named first team All-Conference USA after ranking 10th in the nation with a total of 16 runners caught stealing. In addition, sophomore Ashton Lansdell ranked 36th nationally with 26 stolen bases – which also marked the fifth-highest single season total in FIU program annals.
Larabee joined the Panthers after serving the previous two seasons (2020-21) as an assistant coach at the University of Maryland, where he helped guide the Terps to their best record, as well as their first winning season since joining the Big Ten Conference.
While in College Park, Larabee’s guidance helped Jaeda McFarland become the first player in Maryland program history to be honored as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. During the abbreviated 2020 season, Larabee guided the Terps to a 12-11 nonconference record.
Prior to his tenure at Maryland, Larabee spent four seasons as the head coach at the University of Central Washington, where he guided the Wildcats to four consecutive Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) titles (2016-2019) – a league record streak.
Larabee was selected as the GNAC Coach of the Year following three of his four seasons with the Wildcats. He led Central Washington to a pair of NCAA Regionals appearances and his 2016 squad became the first program in conference history to advance to the NCAA Super Regional following a season that saw it record the best record in program history at 42-17.
Under Larabee’s watch, Central Washington led the GNAC in hitting in three of his four seasons, posting team averages of .331 or better each year. His teams recorded at least 30 wins in each of his four seasons.
Larabee also had a successful six-season run as head coach at the University of Arkansas (2010-15) which saw the Razorbacks reach the NCAA Regional Final for the first time in program history (2012) and then again in (2013).
During his run in Fayetteville, Larabee saw a total of five student-athletes garner a total of nine All-Southeastern Conference honors. In addition, Devon Wallace was recognized as the 2012 SEC Freshman of the Year and Jessica Bachkora was selected as the 2010 SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year.
The Razorbacks were quite familiar with the long ball during Larabee’s time at Arkansas as his squads posted three of the program’s top five season home run totals (2010, 2012, 2013). The 2013 team, which recorded a record of 36-20 overall, launched the second-most round trippers in program annals with 61.
Larabee also held the title of head coach for five seasons (2005-09) at Wright State. He led the Raiders to 92 wins over his final three seasons and captured the Horizon League Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament bids in 2007 and 2008. The back-to-back NCAA berths marked the second and third in the history of the program.
Larabee was an assistant at Illinois for three years (2002-04) prior Wright State. He was part of the 2003 squad that advanced to the NCAA Regional round for the first time in program history and in 2004, the Illini closed out the season ranked No. 17 nationally and earned a No. 2 seed in the Waco Regional.
In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Larabee is a two-time member of the United States National Softball Team coaching pool.
During the summer of 2010, Larabee served as an assistant coach for the USA Softball Futures Team. He assisted the bronze-medal winning squad at the 2010 KFC World Cup of Softball presented by Six Flags, where it competed against 2008 Olympic champion Japan, Canada and the three-time Olympic champion United States.
In his six years as a head coach at the prep level, Larabee’s teams boasted a 145-25 record, with an 88-6 mark in the South Puget Sound League (SPSL). He was named Seattle-Tacoma All-Area Coach of the Year in both 1996 and 1999. Larabee won six consecutive SPSL North League titles (1996-2001) and his 2001 squad had the highest team grade-point average in the state.
In addition to playing on the U.S. National Men’s Fastpitch Team, Larabee also participated in the 1999 Pan American Games National Team Festival.
A three-time American Softball Association All-American (1992, 1995, 1997), he played in the U.S. Olympic Sports Festival four times and was named to the ISC All-World Team on two occasions (1990, 1997).
Larabee played collegiate baseball at MiraCosta and Green River Community Colleges, before continuing at Washington State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1986.
He earned his master’s in exercise science from Washington State in 1988. While completing his master’s, Larabee was an assistant baseball coach for the Cougars, working with the outfielders.
Larabee and his wife Dawn have a daughter, Michaela, and a son, John.