CofC Names Kalafatis Head Softball Coach
Kalafatis joins The College from The Ohio State University where she spent 16 seasons and established herself as one of the most successful coaches in the Big Ten and the NCAA. In 2012, Kalafatis became just the 19th coach in Division I history to eclipse 800 wins, just the second Big Ten coach to achieve such a milestone. She left Ohio State as one of the top 25 active coaches in the nation.
“We had several qualified candidates and a difficult decision to make,” said Laura Lageman, Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator at CofC. “In the end, her outstanding experience separated Coach Kalafatis from the rest and solidified her as our new coach. She is a proven winner as one of the most successful coaches in the country and we couldn’t be more excited to bring a coach of her caliber to our program.
“She has shown an ability to develop student-athletes both on and off the field. This is an exciting opportunity for the Cougars.”
The Cougars, who enter their first season as a full member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), finished with a 37-20 (15-8 SoCon) record last year.
Kalafatis comes to Charleston with an overall head coaching record of 811-473-2 with stints at her alma mater California (Pa.) and Akron prior to her tenure at OSU which began in 1997.
In her 16 seasons at the helm of OSU, Kalafatis guided the Buckeyes to a 538-358 record, earning her the best win total and winning percentage in program history. She led the team to six NCAA Tournament berths, including the program’s first-ever NCAA Super Regional appearance in 2009.
Under her tutelage, the Buckeyes captured both the Big Ten regular season and tournament crowns in 2007, and finished the year ranked in the Top 25 with a 40-18 record. Kalafatis, who earned her second Big Ten Coach of the Year honor in that 2007 season, led the Buckeyes to at least 30 wins in 10 of her 16 seasons with the squad. Kalafatis also earned conference Coach of the Year honors in 2002 when the team recorded a program-record 55 wins and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Also while at Ohio State, Kalafatis and her staff were recognized by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) as the 2007 regional coaching staff of the year. She has served the NFCA as the Division I representative, the Chair of the D-I Head Coaches Committee and a member of the Executive Board.
She has shown an ability to develop both the team and the student-athlete, guiding two Ohio State Female Athletes of the Year, nine All-Americans, a Big Ten Player of the Year and two Big Ten Freshmen of the Year. She has also coached nine players to the Women’s Professional Fastpitch League.
In addition to her on-field accolades, Kalafatis has proved her determination and ability in motivating her players to succeed academically as well. At OSU, she recruited and coached over 150 OSU Scholar-Athletes and two Academic All-Americans, while her team maintained a minimum 3.0 GPA and a 1,000 on the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate, noting a perfect graduation rate.
Kalafatis was a key component in raising over a million dollars for the construction of Buckeye Field which doubled its capacity in 2009. She also led a campaign which raised over $150,000 for breast cancer research.
“I’m proud to be a Cougar,” said Kalafatis. “The program has a winning tradition and I hope to continue that and build upon the recent success the Cougars have seen. It is an exciting time to take over the program as we transfer into the Colonial Athletic Association which has seen Hofstra and James Madison build a winning tradition over the last decade. I know those coaches well and I know they’re quality people who have taken a lot of pride in their programs and I aim to do that with the Cougars.
My experiences over the course of my career have taken me though several different environments and I eagerly await the challenges and opportunities ahead.”
Kalafatis cultivated two programs prior to the development of OSU softball. She headed the staff at the California University of Pennsylvania, her alma mater, from 1989-93 and led the team to an impressive 175-53-1 record with Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships in each of the five seasons she was there. She was inducted to the California University of Pennsylvania Hall of Fame in 2001.
At Akron, she compiled a record of 98-63-1 after taking over the program in 1994. During her three years with the Zips, Kalafatis guided two Mid-American Conference Freshmen of the Year honorees and recruited the 1997 MAC Player of the Year.
“I can’t wait to join this family,” said Kalafatis. “From the program’s amazing potential to the merits of The College and the athletic facilities as well as the splendor and uniqueness of the best city in the country – I was drawn to the program for the same reasons the student-athletes are. Success is achieved through quality student-athletes. It’s all about the student-athletes; I’ll keep it about the student-athletes and try to get the best out of them.”