Kee, Kozlowski Named Mideast Coaching Staff-Of-The-Year
June 30, 2010
STARKVILLE, Miss. – After guiding the East Carolina softball team to its first Conference USA regular season and tournament championships, Pirate head coach Tracey Kee and associate head coach Natalie Kozlowski have been selected as the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Mideast Region Coaching Staff-of-the-Year. The regional award is the first in either of their careers.
Kee and Kozlowski combined to lead the Pirates to a 44-18 record and the second and third NCAA Tournament wins in ECU history in addition to the league titles. The 44 wins were the most for East Carolina in a season since posting 55 in 2005. The final two triumphs of the season were at the NCAA Tournament Austin Regional, where the Pirates defeated Iona 3-0 and No. 7 national seed Texas 1-0. By downing the host and 12th-ranked Longhorns, ECU earned the right to play BYU in its first ever regional championship.
The duo’s insistence on solid defense helped the Pirates finish with a .9800 team fielding percentage, the best mark in the country. East Carolina committed just 31 errors in 62 games to end the season ranked in the top three in fielding percentage for the fourth-straight campaign (second in 2007, .977; third in 2008, .980; third in 2009, .978).
Prior to the NFCA award, Kee was selected as the Conference USA Coach-of-the-Year for the second-straight season. With a win over UTEP April 17, she reached the 600-career victory plateau and concluded the season with 618 triumphs as the Pirate head coach. Kee is now a four-time coach-of-the-year as she won the award in 1997 in the Big South conference and has taken home the honor in 2005, 2009 and 2010 in C-USA.
This year, Kee and Kozlowski helped Toni Paisley earn Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-America Third Team honors as well as picking up her second consecutive Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-Year award. Paisley and Marina Gusman-Brown were Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I Mideast All-Region First Team members while Charina Sumner was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA)/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America Third Team. Kaui Tom joined Sumner on the CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District First Team.
During the 2010 season, the coaches guided two players to First-Team All-Conference USA honors (Paisley and Gusman-Brown), one to the C-USA second team (Sumner), five to the league all-tournament team (Paisley, Gusman-Brown, Vanessa Moreno, Tom, Sissy Jimenez) and Paisley to be the Most Valuable Player of the Conference USA Tournament.
Kelly Inouye-Perez and her UCLA assistants were recognized as the NFCA National Coaching Staff-of-the-Year following the Bruins’ 12th national championship.
2010 NFCA Regional Coaching Staffs-Of-The-Year