position Head Coach
Alma Mater Michigan '95
491 career victories. Twelve consecutive 30-win seasons. Thirty nine players who have earned a total of 60 all-conference honors. Eighteen NCAA Regional appearances as either a head coach, assistant coach or player. By any measure, Kelly Kovach Schoenly is a winner and through 10 seasons leading Ohio State, she has the Buckeyes positioned to write the next chapter in its storied history.
In her 10 seasons in Columbus, Schoenly’s teams have won 303 games, including 22 over teams ranked in the Top 25. Twenty eight of her players have earned All-Big Ten or NFCA All-Midwest Region honors. And just as important, the Buckeyes are excelling in the classroom. In 2021, 13 players garnered Academic All-Big Ten recognition, which accounted for 87 percent of those who were eligible.
Schoenly’s current winning percentage of .617 (303-188-1) at Ohio State is the best in program history, as is her Big Ten winning percentage of .588 (131-93-1).
In 2022, Ohio State finished 36-17 overall and earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the last six tournaments. It marked Schoenly’s eighth 30-win season in eight full seasons leading the Buckeyes (2020 excluded for COVID and 2021 for a conference-only schedule). The Buckeyes had their best-ever final RPI of Schoenly’s tenure (No. 25) and produced four All-Region players. Under her tutelage, Schoenly helped pitcher Lexie Handley break the program’s single-season record for strikeouts.
The 2021 season featured a 43-game Big Ten-only schedule in which Ohio State defeated every conference opponent at least once. It finished the season with wins in six of its last eight games and with an overall record of 24-19.
In a shortened 2020 season, the Buckeyes went 9-9 before the COVID-19 pandemic halted play. During the five-week span, Avery Clark was twice named Big Ten Freshman of the Week and joined Ashley Prange as the only Buckeyes to have games in which they hit two home runs in consecutive at-bats. In the circle, Payton Buresch led the pitching staff with a 1.99 ERA and 49 strikeouts. Off the field, 14 players earned OSU Scholar-Athlete recognition and nine claimed Academic All-Big Ten honors.
The 2019 season marked Ohio State’s fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, the longest streak in program history. The Buckeyes posted 17 wins in Big Ten play, the most under Schoenly and since the 1994 campaign. Schoenly coached seven players to a total of 14 postseason accolades, including All-Americans Lilli Piper and Emily Clark. In the circle, her pitching staff threw three no-hitters, the most since the 2007 season. In the classroom, 13 student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, which tied for the most amongst the 14 conference softball programs.
In 2018, the Buckeyes tallied 36 wins, the most in a season since 2010 and during Schoenly’s tenure. She had five Buckeyes earn All-Big Ten honors and four receive NFCA All-Region recognition. For the third consecutive season, Ohio State secured an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament and fought its way to the Gainesville Regional final. Against Top 75 teams, the Scarlet and Gray won 16 games while notching 22 victories against Top 100 foes.
The 2017 campaign featured 35 wins and Schoenly coached the squad to a 15-8 mark in the Big Ten to finish third in the conference standings. The team also advanced to the Big Ten Championship game for the first time since 2007. The Buckeyes earned their second-straight trip to the Knoxville Regional. She had five all-region choices to tie for the most in a single season, matching the mark set in both 1994 and 2002.
The 2016 season was punctuated by the program’s first NCAA Regional appearance since 2010, as the Buckeyes won 34 games and finished in the top half of the Big Ten standings for the third straight season. Along the way, they defeated nine teams in the Top 75 of the RPI, won six games in walk-off fashion and were ranked in the ESPN/USA Softball Top 25 poll for five consecutive weeks. Four players garnered All-Big Ten honors while four were named to the NFCA All-Midwest Region team, including a program-best three first teamers.
In 2015, Schoenly’s team rewrote the Ohio State record books, setting single-season marks for home runs (74), batting average (.348) and runs scored (380). Like in past years, the Buckeyes also showed steady improvement throughout the season, winning eight of the last 12 games to finish over .500 in the Big Ten for the second straight year. Ohio State also got out to a fast start, winning nine times in the first 10 contests, the best 10-game start in program history. With a final record of 30-22, Schoenly reached the 30-win mark for the seventh straight season in her nine-year head coaching career.
In 2014, Schoenly led Ohio State to victories in 10 of its last 12 games, including an upset of second-seeded and 18th-ranked Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals. She mentored three first-team All-Big Ten choices, led by unanimous selection Evelyn Carrillo. With a final record of 30-25, a Schoenly-coached team reached the 30-win mark for the sixth-consecutive season. In conference play, the Buckeyes won 13 games, the most since 2010, and finished in the upper half of the league standings for the first time in four years.
Schoenly’s debut season with Ohio State in 2013 was highlighted by 18 victories in the first 26 games. Ohio State would finish the season 34-22 and defeated Iowa, 8-4, in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament. Cammi Prantl was a second team All-Big Ten selection after putting together one of the most impressive rookie seasons in school history (freshmen-record 40 runs scored and a .346 batting average, fifth-highest amongst freshmen).
“I am honored and humbled for the chance to lead the Buckeye softball program, one I have respected for decades,” Schoenly said at the time of her hiring. “I would like to thank Gene Smith, Heather Lyke, and the entire search committee for this incredible opportunity. What makes this university special are the people, the tradition, and the excellence. My goal is to continue that legacy within our softball program.”
Schoenly spent six seasons as head coach at Miami (Ohio) and was the program’s all-time winningest coach with 188 career victories, leading the RedHawks to their first MAC Tournament title in 2009 before winning again in 2012. Schoenly also led the team to two NCAA Tournament berths in both 2009 and 2012, respectively. Prior to her stint at Miami, Schoenly was an assistant coach at Penn State (1998-2006) for eight seasons and helped guide the Nittany Lions to seven Big Ten Tournament appearances and six NCAA Tournament berths. Before her time in State College, Schoenly was an assistant at her alma mater, Michigan, for three years (1996-98), helping the squad reach the NCAA Women’s College World Series three consecutive times.
At Miami, Schoenly led the team to four consecutive 30-win seasons, including a record-breaking 41-win campaign in 2012. Last season, the RedHawks won three consecutive games in one day at the MAC Tournament to claim the league tournament title and an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. She led the RedHawks to a 1-0 upset over fifth-ranked Tennessee in the opening round of the Knoxville Regional. Under Schoenly’s leadership, the RedHawks collected 83 wins in MAC play. She had 15 players earn a total of 25 All-MAC honors, three players earn four All-Region honors and two players earn three MAC Player of the Year awards.
In 2012, Schoenly coached Jessica Simpson to MAC Pitcher of the Year honors for the second-consecutive season – only the third pitcher in conference history to win the award multiple times. Schoenly also led the team to its first NCAA Tournament victory in 2009.
Prior to her time in Oxford, Schoenly guided one of the nation’s best pitching staffs in 2006, as the Nittany Lions finished the season ranked 12th nationally in ERA (1.36) and limited their opponents to 74 earned runs in 380.2 innings. During her eight-year tenure, Schoenly helped Penn State to seven 30-win seasons, including a program-record 39 wins in 2006. Schoenly also produced two All-America pitchers, including 2005 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Third-Team honoree Ashley Esparza and 2006 Second-Team All-Great Lakes Region pitcher Missy Beseres, the first Nittany Lion in program history to be drafted to play professional softball.
During her stint in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines won two Big Ten regular-season titles, three Big Ten Tournament titles, three NCAA Regional Championships and made three trips to the NCAA Women’s College World Series. In addition to being honored as part of the NFCA Great Lakes Coaching Staff of the Year in 1998, Schoenly coached one All-America pitcher, three conference pitchers of the year and six all-conference selections.
During her collegiate pitching career at Michigan (1991-95), Schoenly earned numerous conference and national awards, including 1995 NFCA First-Team All-America honors. A two-time Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and three-time all-conference selection, Schoenly was a member of three Big Ten Conference Championship teams and played on the 1995 squad, which finished seventh at the NCAA Women’s College World Series.
A two-time GTE Academic All-American, Schoenly received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Michigan in December of 1995. After receiving the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, Schoenly went on to earn her master’s degree in elementary mathematics education from Michigan in May of 1998.
Schoenly and her husband Doug, a Penn State alumnus and tennis professional, have one daughter, Danielle. who is a member of the Ohio State women’s tennis team.
|2009||Miami (Ohio)||33-24||13-9||Ann Arbor Regional|
|2012||Miami (Ohio)||41-20||16-6||Knoxville Regional|
|2016||Ohio State||34-20-1||13-9-1||Knoxville Regional|
|2017||Ohio State||35-18||17-6||Knoxville Regional|
|2018||Ohio State||36-16||15-8||Gainesville Regional|
|2019||Ohio State||35-18||17-6||Knoxville Regional|
|2022||Ohio State||36-17||13-9||Knoxville Regional|
|TOTAL||16 years||491-338-2 (.591)||228-149-1 (.603)|
|OHIO STATE||10 years||303-186-1 (.619)||131-93-1 (.588)|
*Remainder of the season canceled on March 12, 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic