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Natalie Kozlowski enters her 12th year with the East Carolina program and sixth as an associate head coach, working primarily with the offense and outfielders. In addition to her on-field work, Kozlowski is the Pirates' recruiting coordinator, scouting director and conditioning coach.
Kozlowski, head coach Tracey Kee and their graduate assistant coaches have received the last two National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Mideast Region Coaching Staff-of-the-Year awards. The staff has guided the Pirates to consecutive NCAA Tournament regional final appearances and Conference USA Tournament championships while capturing the program's first C-USA regular season crown in 2010.
In addition to sharing the NFCA regional honor, Kozlowski has been an invaluable asset to Kee when the latter was named the C-USA Coach-of-the-Year in 2005, 2009 and 2010. Since the start of the 2001 campaign, the Pirates have amassed a record of 457-252-1 (.644) with Kozlowski as an assistant or associate head coach. In eight of those seasons, the team has reached 40 or more victories.
Since the beginning of the 2009 season, no league program has compiled more victories than East Carolina's 125. In the region during that time frame, the only program with more wins is Louisville with 127. In 2011, ECU recorded 41 triumphs to become only the fourth squad in C-USA history to win 40 or more games in three-straight seasons.
A look at the East Carolina record book also shows Kozlowski's impact on the program as the all-time offensive lists are dominated by squads she has coached. Kozlowski is responsible for teams that rank first or second in six of 11 offensive categories. Her units rank first in home runs and walks while placing second in games played, at bats, runs batted in and hits.
Kozlowski guided the Pirate offense to its highest home run total in school history in 2007 with 58, topping the previous record of 57 set just two seasons earlier. In 2008, the Pirates led Conference USA in hit by pitches, placed second in hits, runs batted in, total bases, plate appearances, at bats and stolen bases and finished third in runs scored and sacrifice bunts. Kozlowski has coached 22 all-conference members at ECU.
The offense played a vital role during the Pirates' 2010 Conference USA championship season, as the team led the league in hit by pitches and sacrifice bunts while standing second in hits and third in runs scored. East Carolina finished among the top four in the conference in total plate appearances (first), at bats (second), walks (second), triples (second), stolen bases (second), sacrifice flies (third), total bases (third), on-base percentage (fourth) and runs batted in (fourth).
Kozlowski's work with the 2011 team might be her most notable performance to date. Of the team's regular starting offensive lineup, seven were underclassmen, including six freshmen. At the end of the campaign, East Carolina tied Louisville's 2004 squad for the most C-USA All-Freshman Team honorees in a season with four.
Despite the youth, the offense helped the Pirates repeat as Conference USA Tournament champions. ECU finished third in the conference in runs scored, hits, runs batted in and on-base percentage. The squad also led the league in walks, hit by pitches and sacrifice bunts. A spark to the offense was freshman Kristi Oshiro, who, under the guidance of Kozlowski, tallied team-best marks with 58 hits, 40 walks and 37 runs scored. She became the first ECU player to have more than 35 in all three categories since Kate Manuse (77 H/55 BB/40 R) in 2005.
"Being able to retain Coach Koz for 12 years has made a direct impact on our program's success," Kee said. "She is a tireless worker with an uncanny teaching ability. Working side by side with a coach who is loyal, driven and completely committed to our program and university is priceless. Her impact on the development of our student-athletes has been and will be felt for many years to come."
Prior to arriving at East Carolina, Kozlowski was an assistant to the softball team for one year and to the basketball team for two at Towson University in Towson, Md. She also spent two years as an assistant with the George Mason University softball program in Fairfax, Va., before her stint at Towson. Kozlowski gained additional experience coaching softball and basketball for three years at Smith Academy High School in Hatfield, Mass.
Kozlowski earned a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science from Hofstra University, where she was a member of the basketball and softball teams for four seasons. On the basketball court, she led the Pride in assists as a junior with 78 after being named the team's most improved player a year earlier.
She played softball for one of the most recognized coaches in the game, Bill Edwards, who was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame in 2009 and is a nine-time NFCA Region Coach-of-the-Year. Kozlowski's 1992 team finished the year as the regular-season East Coast Conference champion, league-tournament champion and No. 3 ranked squad in the Northeast Region. As a freshman, she was honored as the most improved player. Her senior year, Kozlowski was named an all-conference selection while also earning honors as a District I GTE Academic All-America. She also earned the Dr. Sylvia J. Giallombardo Award for academic and athletic excellence, one of the most prestigious awards given at Hofstra.
After graduating from Hofstra, Kozlowski enrolled at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she earned a Master of Science degree in exercise physiology in 1995.
In 1996, the Elmira, N.Y., native was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at Notre Dame High School. During her four years at the institution, she earned 12 varsity letters as a member of the basketball, softball, soccer, track and volleyball squads.
Kozlowski is an avid runner and biker who completed the 2007 Outer Banks marathon. Other marathons in which she has participated include Disney, New York City and Richmond. In October of 2010, Kozlowski competed in her second Wineglass Marathon in Corning, N.Y. She has run five half-marathons and five 10-mile races. During the November 2011 Battleship Half Marathon in Wilmington, N.C., she turned in a personal-best time and won her age division. In addition, she completed her second Cotton Century bike ride in August of 2005.
She is the youngest of Ted and Ann Kozlowski's five children.