Oregon Hires Mississippi State Coach To Lead Softball Program
July 10, 2002
EUGENE - Kathy Arendsen (AIR-en-son), who rebuilt Mississippi State's softball program following a 10-season hiatus to a pair of NCAA tournament berths within a six-year span, has been hired as the University of Oregon's 10th head coach in the program's history, according to the Ducks' Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Bill Moos.
The 43-year-old Zeeland, Mich., native, who has accumulated a record of 374-279 in 13 seasons as a collegiate head coach, brings with her a reputation as one of the nation's top pitching technicians, as well as a 16-year playing career which culminated with eight USA national-team appearances and induction into the American Softball Association Hall of Fame.
In addition, she has remained active in softball's national governing body since 1992, serving on the ASA board of directors (1993-97) as well as a member of the USA Softball's national team selection committee from 1993-2000.
She assumes her duties at Oregon immediately under a one-year contract at an annual university base salary of $55,000, in addition to $10,000 of supplemental income.
The two-time ASA Player of the Year (1979, 1980) and three-time Broderick Award recipient (1978-79-80) - recognizing the nation's top collegiate softball player - is no stranger to helping build successful collegiate softball programs. As an assistant coach at Northwestern for four years (1984-87), she helped lead the Wildcats to a trio of Big Ten Conference championships and two College World Series berths. She completed a four-year stretch as the head coach at Yale (1992-95) after winning an Ivy League title, and remains the school's winningest softball coach of all time. At Mississippi State, she led the Bulldogs to a220-160 record, posted winning seasons in each of her six campaigns and guided teams to NCAA tournament appearances in 2000 and 2002. Her 1998 squad advanced to the finals of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
During her 13-year collegiate head coaching career, she has suffered through only one losing season (1992).
Last year, the Bulldogs finished with a 36-31 record en route to their second NCAA post-season appearance in the program's short existence. Arendsen coached pitcher/first baseman Kellie Wilkerson, who became just the second four-year All-American in Mississippi State history and the school's first female ever to earn such honors.
Included among last spring's success were wins over four top-10 programs, including top-ranked Arizona, #4 LSU, eighth-ranked Michigan and 10th-rated Arizona State.
She brought success to the Bulldog program immediately, leading the team to a 30-26 mark in her inaugural season and eclipsing that mark in 1998 when she coached the Bulldogs to a 36-21 record and the championship game of the SEC Tournament. That season, Wilkerson and Keri McCallum both earned first-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America accolades.
Prior to taking over the Mississippi State program, Arendsen left her mark in the Ivy League, coaching the Yale Bulldogs to a 90-73 record.
Arendsen immediately turned that program around her second season after completing the initial year with a 12-26 mark, leading her young team to a 31-12 overall record, an undefeated conference record and the league crown.
She first broke into the collegiate coaching ranks as a softball graduate assistant at Temple in 1981 before spending a one-year stint as assistant softball and women's basketball coach at the University of Connecticut. She assumed her first head coaching position as head softball coach at Western Connecticut State during the 1983 season.
Following a one-year absence from the profession, Arendsen returned to coaching in 1984 as an assistant at Northwestern before resuming her head coaching career at Eastern Illinois in 1990. She accumulated a 46-36 record in two seasons with the Panthers.
Arendsen's playing career was even more impressive. Prior to earning her undergraduate degree in physical education from California State-Chico in 1980, she began her collegiate career at Grand Valley State (Mich.) in 1977 before spending her next two seasons at Texas Woman's University. She completed her collegiate playing tenure with one season at Cal State-Chico, helping teams to a pair of AIAW Division III national championships in 1979 and 1980, respectively.
Following her sophomore year, she began a 15-year summer league stint with the Raybestos Brakettes (Stratford, Conn.), where she accomplished some of her greatest achievements as a player. During her American Softball Association tenure, Arendsen posted a career record of 338-26 while accumulating 79 no-hitters, 42 perfect games and 265 shutouts before retiring in 1992. In addition, the 13-time ASA All-American is a four-time recipient of the Bertha Tickey award as the outstanding pitcher in the ASA Women's Major Fastpitch National Championship as she led her squads to nine ASA national titles and played on three World Championship teams in 1979 and 1992.
In 1981, Arendsen became the first softball player ever to be a finalist for the James E. Sullivan award, recognizing the top amateur athlete in the country.
In addition to being the youngest player (37) ever inducted into the ASA Hall fo Fame on May 18, 1996, she has been voted into halls of fame at Cal State-Chico and Texas Women's University as well as the state of Michigan's ASA Hall of Fame and the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Hall of Fame.
Four years ago, she also was honored as one of the 50 best-ever athletes to come out of the state of Michigan by Sports Illustrated.
Arendsen assumes control over an Oregon softball program which finished last year with a 24-30 record.
HEAD COACHING RECORD
Year School Record W/L %1983 West Connecticut State 18-10-0 .6431990 Eastern Illinois 18-16-0 .5291991 Eastern Illinois 28-20-0 .5831992 Yale 12-26-0 .3161993 Yale 31-12-0 .7121994 Yale 22-16-0 .5791995 Yale 25-19-0 .5681997 Mississippi State 30-26-0 .5361998 Mississippi State 36-21-0 .6321999 Mississippi State 38-29-0 .5672000 Mississippi State 44-27-0 .6202001 Mississippi State 36-26-0 .5812002 Mississippi State 36-31-0 .537Career 13 Seasons 374-279 .573