May 17, 2017
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State has extended the contract of head softball coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly though the 2020 season, TJ Shelton, associate athletics director for sports administration, announced today.
“Coach Kovach Schoenly has done a terrific job with the softball program over the past five years and we’re very excited to reward her with a contract extension,” said Shelton. “The program is in a good place as athletes have excelled in the classroom, on the field with back to back NCAA bids and in the community with increased fan support. This is a clear sign that it’s heading in an upward trajectory. Coach Kelly and her staff has built a solid foundation for continued future success.”
Kovach Schoenly, in her fifth year with the Buckeyes since arriving from Miami University, has more wins (163) than any coach in program history during the first five years of their respective tenures. She has twice led the Buckeyes to NCAA Tournament appearances and last week guided the Scarlet and Gray to its first Big Ten Tournament championship game in 10 years. Overall, she’s 163-105-1 with a 63-51-1 mark in Big Ten play since taking over the program in 2013. In her 11th year as a head coach, she’s won 30 or more games for eight consecutive years.
“I am grateful that [Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director] Gene Smith and TJ Shelton have offered this contract extension to continue to coach for a program and university that I love,” said Kovach Schoenly. “Ohio State is where I want to be, with this group of incredible ladies, for as long as they’ll have me. I thoroughly enjoy developing young woman through sport to be ready to leave this place and go conquer the world.”
Kovach Schoenly’s 2017 Buckeyes are 35-18 overall, the most wins in a single season since 2010. They also finished 15-8 in the Big Ten for the highest conference finish in seven years. She’s coached 13 All-Big Ten selections, nine NFCA All-Midwest Region choices and one All-American (Cammi Prantl, the programs first in six years).
In the classroom, 18 student-athletes finished the 2016-17 academic year with a 3.0 or better grade-point average. In 2014, the program had five Big Ten Distinguished Scholars – the most of any softball team in the conference.
“I love playing for coach because she’s always pushing us to be better, both on and off the field,” said sophomore Lilli Piper, who currently leads the team with a .424 average, 17 home runs and 51 RBI. “She’s shown us that we can compete and win at a high level all while having a lot of fun. We’ve got great things happening for us now and she’s our leader.”
Kovach Schoenly was the fastest coach in program history to reach 100 wins when she surpassed the milestone in 2016. Her 2015 squad set school records for batting average, home runs and runs scored, while the 2016 Buckeyes were third in the Big Ten in overall earned run average and had five pitchers with an ERA of 3.00 or better. The Buckeyes are also enjoying unprecedented fan support – this year, the program hosted seven crowds of 1,000 or more at Buckeye Field and a single-game record 1,836 saw the Ohio State shut out Michigan, 5-0, on April 9.
Ohio State opens play at the Knoxville Regional on Friday, May 19 against USC Upstate at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN3.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) May 7, 2017