Eriksen named head coach of U.S. National softball team
USF head softball coach Ken Eriksen has been named the head coach of the United States National Team, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced Friday.
Here's more from the release:
Eriksen will serve as the head coach for the Women’s National team in 2011 and 2012, which will include the 2011 Pan American Games and the 2012 International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championships. Eriksen will become the first male in USA Softball history to represent the organization as both a player and a head coach.
“This is an incredible opportunity for me as a coach and for USA Softball to bring new faces into the USA Softball National team family,” Eriksen said. “Our goal is to prepare and shape this unit into a championship caliber team that will compete in the next two ISF medal events as well as the World Cup of Softball here in the United States in front of our fans.”
In 2001, Eriksen joined the National Team staff, and remained with the team through 2004, where he helped lead the program to the 2004 Olympic Gold Medal, becoming the only USF coach in school history to accomplish such a feat.
“First, I want to thank the members of the National Team Selection Committee for having the faith in me to represent the most successful softball team in the history of women’s international softball,” Eriksen said. “I also would be remiss not to thank two mentors. I want to thank Mike Candrea for believing in me and getting me involved as part of the National Team program from 2001-2005. His guidance and mentoring have been invaluable to me. I also want to thank Jay Miller for his confidence and trust in bringing me back to work with the program the last two years. I hope to make these two great American coaches proud.”
Eriksen, who rejoined the National Team in 2009, had the primary responsibilities of pitching, catching and scouting for Team USA. He recently helped Team USA to the 2009 Canada Cup title.
“I look forward to working with the USA National Team’s Director, Ron Isham, in his quest to continue USA Softball excellence and helping facilitate ASA Executive Director Ron Radigonda’s campaign in helping softball gain re-entry into the Olympic Games in 2020,” Eriksen said.
Eriksen, a USF graduate and former baseball player with the Bulls, took the reign as head coach of the USF softball team in 1997, and has spent the past 14 years as skipper.
“USF Athletics and the entire University would like to congratulate Coach Eriksen on what may be the highest honor that you can have in college coaching by being named as the head coach of the United States National Softball Team,” USF Director of Athletics Doug Woolard said. “It is certainly well deserved. We are fortunate to have him in the leadership role that we have him here at USF.”
Since Eriksen became head coach in 1997, he has ended the season with a winning record on 12 occasions. While at the helm of one of the most successful programs on campus, Eriksen has led eight teams to the NCAA Regional, won a Regional Championship in 2006, made a Super Regional appearance that same year and has won three conference titles, the latest being the BIG EAST Regular-Season Championship in 2008.
-- JOE SMITH