Hitting, infield coach enters fifth year at Ohio State

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Linda Kalafatis, 14th-year head coach of the Ohio State softball team, announced the promotion of Ali Viola to associate head coach of the Buckeyes Wednesday. Viola will be serving her fifth year at Ohio State in 2010, working primarily with the Buckeye infield, as well as tutoring the team’s power hitters.

“Ali is very deserving of this promotion,” Kalafatis said. “She brings a lot of experience to this program after coaching at four different universities. Ali has been an instrumental part of this program so I was proud to announce the decision to the team today.”

Viola has shared the credit for the Buckeyes’ success over the last few seasons – including their run to the 2009 NCAA Super Regionals, one of Ohio State’s three appearances at the national tournament (2006, ’07, ’09) in her four years with the program.

“I am appreciative Linda felt I had earned this position,” Viola said. “It confirms we are on the same page and know what we want to do with this program. The success from the past few seasons shows that what we are doing is working.”

In just her second season, Viola assisted in guiding the Buckeyes to a Big Ten Championship in 2007. 

She came to Ohio State with seven years of collegiate coaching experience following her playing career at Nebraska, where Viola was a three-time All-American shortstop.

Viola’s coaching career began at Louisville, where she spent the 1999 season helping the Cardinals establish themselves as a new Division I program. Viola then spent three seasons at Wisconsin, during which the Badgers were selected for the NCAA tournament all three years, before moving onto Cal Poly State for three seasons.

A native of Novato, Calif., Viola was the 1995 Big 12 Freshman of the Year at Nebraska and went on to be named Big 12 Player of the Year twice. She earned All-America honors three times and still is Nebraska’s all-time leader in home runs (53), doubles (48), RBI (231), slugging percentage (.760) and batting average (.418). In addition, Viola’s career slugging percentage still ranks among the Top 14 in NCAA history.

Viola was an Olympic Festival participant in 1995 and was a USA National Top 60 representative from 1995-98. In 2000 she helped lead the Tampa Bay Firestix to the Women’s Professional League championship.