Head Coach Kristy Schroeder took the UCSB softball team to its first ever NCAA postseason appearance in only her third year as head coach, earning her Coach of the Year honors.
Schroeder won two NCAA championships in ’91 and ’93 as a softball letter-winner at UCLA and was named to the Pac-10 1990’s All-Decade team. Schroeder has now taken her softball experience as a player and turned it into extensive coaching knowledge, leading the Gauchos to back-to-back .500 or over seasons for the first time in UCSB history.
“Coach Schroeder is the kind of coach that you can work with and understand,” freshman left fielder Jessica Hejna said. “She is always there to explain things to you. Coach will never really get mad at anything that you do; she’ll just try to help you fix the problem so it won’t happen again.”
Schroeder took her team to an overall record of 32-31 with an impressive 14-7 record in the Big West to earn the Gauchos second place in league, the highest finish UCSB has ever achieved. Though Santa Barbara did not fair as well in regionals, losing its first two games, the team was proud of its coach and the success it had this season.
“Coach is very family oriented and trys to get our team to do things together and encourages team unity on and off the field,” freshman catcher Shelby Hensler said. “She takes her profession very seriously and doesn’t screw around. Coach always helps out the team after practices and before to work on individual skills. She works her schedule around you.”
The Gauchos’ young roster, which included eight freshmen, seemed to be an obstacle at the start of the season. Schroeder, however, was not concerned about the athletes’ ages or experience.
Santa Barbara’s success was a result of Schroeder’s hard work and dedication, proving why she is the Daily Nexus Coach of the Year.