In her five years at the helm of the UCSB softball team, Head Coach Kristy Schroeder has brought her team to the NCAA Tournament for the first and second time in the program’s history, and that’s only the latest achievement on her distinguished resume.

Heavily recruited out of high school, Schroeder cancelled her recruiting trip to Cal after UCLA offered her exactly what she wanted: shortstop, academics and a strong tradition of athletic success. Schroeder played four years for the UCLA softball team and played tennis and soccer for the Bruins during her fifth year, making her the only female athlete to letter in three sports.

“She was just terrific about balancing everything and that’s at best to her academic ability and overall as an athlete, great at being able to handle one thing at a time,” UCLA Head Coach Sue Enquist said. “I think the qualities that stick out the most as an athlete… her competitiveness. I never had to worry about her preparedness; she loved to compete every day and there was an edge about her that really provided for great leadership on the field, the game never scared her. She was an excellent competitor.”

Schroeder, the starting shortstop for UCLA, racked up the accolades in her years as a Bruin – four-time All-Pac 10 and was chosen as the shortstop for the Pac 10’s All-Decade Team. Schroeder, then Kristy Howard, is ninth all-time for UCLA, playing in 233 games, playing in all 69 games her freshman year. The Bruins went to the College World Series in each of Schroeder’s four years, winning in 1990 and 1992 and were national runners-up in 1991 and 1993.

“We always expected to win, every year,” Schroeder said. “Your mentality is so much different – every team you look at, you size them up and you’re like ‘they’re going down.’ I’ve always been on winning teams and that’s always been the mentality – that our team would win.”

After graduation in 1994 and a year’s experience as a graduate assistant with the softball team, Schroeder served as an assistant at Stanford before moving to Stockton, Calif. to coach and study at Pacific.

“A lot of my coaching philosophy, I learned at Pacific. I had a mentor … he kind of helped me develop a little bit more of a coaching philosophy focused on things that you can control,” Schroeder said. “Obviously, you need to know how to win, too, and I think that because I’ve been on a lot of winning programs, I am able to portray to my team what a winning team looks like and what a winning team does.”

Schroeder and her husband, Peter Schroeder, currently a professor in UCSB’s Exercise and Sports Studies Dept., looked for somewhere they could move together and they both found jobs in Missouri – Head Coach and professor at Truman State University, respectively. In her inaugural year, Schroeder took the Division II Bulldogs to a 46-11 record, their first Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association championship and a #23 national ranking. In her three years at Truman State, Schroeder took a team that was below .500 and ended up as Truman’s winningest coach with an overall record of 133-34-1.

Schroeder came to UCSB in 2002 and was named the Big West Coach of the Year after leading the Gauchos to a fourth place finish. Under Schroeder, UCSB had its first All-American in Jami Trinidad and has sent 25 players to All-Big West selections. After giving birth to her first child in February 2003, Schroeder was back coaching less than a day later. Schroeder guided Santa Barbara to its first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament and has done so again this year, as the team travels to the Evanston Regional this weekend.

“She’s a builder, went over and built up [Truman State’s] program and brought Santa Barbara up, [it’s] not easy to do, creating momentum,” Enquist said. “She’s just a class act and a terrific role model, one of the top coaches in [Division 1] softball and we’re fortunate in our sport to have someone her caliber.”