The Boston University softball team has a new coach, hiring Kathryn Gleason as softball program head, Athletic Director Mike Lynch announced today.
“I’m very excited,” Gleason said in a phone interview. “I have been very lucky and blessed to be coached by some great people and to have worked for some great people and to have been mentored by them. I don’t know if you ever feel like you are fully prepared, but they have prepared me well enough to be where I am today.”
The position is Gleason’s first head-coaching job, having spent the past two years at the University of Massachusetts as the associate head coach. Gleason worked primarily with the Minutewomen’s infielders and helped lead the team to an Atlantic 10 championship last season.
“She seems like the perfect fit for us given her – even her background as a player having competed at the college World Series a couple of different times, her experience at a number of different institutions that have been in the national tournament and then certainly most recently her work at UMass,” Lynch said in a phone interview. “She is coming to a place where we have a pretty established program. She has got all the pieces in place.”
Lynch continued, saying BU “made the right choice” in choosing Gleason for the job.
“And we are looking forward to having her here on campus and getting things going,” he said.
Gleason had been an assistant coach at UMass back in 2000 as well, but spent nine years in between those terms in Amherst in the Big Ten conference. She served as an assistant coach at Purdue University from 2001 to 2004 before she took a job at Michigan State University in 2004. After spending one year as an assistant coach for the Spartans, she spent the next five years as an associate head coach.
As well as her experience at coaching in some of the top softball conferences in the country, she also competed with one of the top programs of the country while earning her bachelor’s degree in Sport Management and Communications from the University of Michigan in 1996.
While playing with Michigan, the Wolverines won the Big Ten regular season championship and the Big Ten tournament championship while making it to the Women’s College World Series in both 1995 and 1996.
“She played at a really prestigious program that went to the national championship twice, she has played at the highest level, competed against the best players in the country and to have that experience, she is going to be able to pass that along to our girls and I’m sure they will be able to learn a lot from it,” Lynch said.
Gleason will be picking up where former coach Shawn Rychcik left off. Rychcik left BU softball back in July, when he accepted a job in the Atlantic Coast Conference at North Carolina State University.
Now, Gleason will take over a program that went 41-16 last year and will be returning 14 players.
“Shawn did a wonderful job growing the team from kind of a more regional-based team to kind of a nationally known program” Lynch said. “I think Kathryn is going to pick up the torch and run it even farther for us.”
However, it will be difficult for Gleason to take that torch to the NCAA tournament in her first year, which she said was her goal. BU will have to earn an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament as the America East has excluded the Terriers from competing in conference championships next season.
“I think [the ban] is a little bit of a challenge,” Gleason said. “But from what I have heard from the players and the staff around here it is a challenge that the team has taken on and gives a little incentive this year to say, ‘OK, we can’t play in a championship, but our expectations are still high and we are still going to go for 40 wins and do everything that we can on and off the field and put us in a great position to get into the NCAA tournament.’”