Olympic Gold Medalist McFalls Named Head Softball Coach at Kansas

Oct 7, 2017; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; during a Big 12 game between the Kansas Jayhawks and Texas Tech Red Raiders ©Kelly Ross Photo

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KU release) Jennifer McFalls, most recently the assistant softball coach at the University of Texas, has been named head softball coach at the University of Kansas, KU Athletics Director Jeff Long announced Monday.

McFalls helped lead Texas to NCAA Tournament appearances in each of her eight years as an assistant there (2011-2018), including a Super Regional in 2012 and the Women's College World Series in 2013. Prior to going to Texas she served two stints as a collegiate assistant coach - one season at the University of Oklahoma (1998) and three seasons at Texas A&M University (1995-97).

McFalls served as the Longhorns' defensive coach and recruiting coordinator. During her tenure the Longhorns registered some of the highest fielding-percentage and double-play numbers in the history of the program. She helped coach nine All-America selections, two Big 12 Conference Players of the Year and more than three dozen All-Big 12 players.

She played on the USA's gold-medal-winning team at the 2000 Olympics, scoring the game-winning run in the USA's victory over Japan in the gold-medal game. She also scored the only run in the USA's 1-0 victory over Australia to send the Americans to the gold-medal game. She was a member of the U.S. National Team from 1994-2000, helping her teams to a gold medal in the 1999 Pan American Games and a gold medal at the 1998 World Championships.

McFalls has also been active off the field with USA Softball. She served on the USA Softball selection committee for five years and also as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2010 Canadian Open Fast Pitch International Championship.

A four-year starter at shortstop for Texas A&M, McFalls earned first-team All-America honors in 1993 and led the Aggies in batting average, hits, total bases and slugging percentage in all four seasons. In 1994 she was named the school's Female Athlete of the Year, and in 2001 she was inducted into the Texas A&M Hall of Fame.

"We are excited to name Jennifer McFalls as our new softball coach," Long said. "She brings outstanding credentials as a coach in the Big 12 Conference and as a national-caliber player. Our student-athletes will benefit greatly from her knowledge and passion for the game of softball."

McFalls has also coached at the professional level; in 2015 she earned coach-of-the-year honors as head coach of the Dallas Charge of the National Pro Fastpitch league. She also served as a head coach for five years at the high-school level in Texas, and has directed numerous softball clinics across the United States.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT JENNIFER McFALLS

"Jennifer has enormous respect at every level of the game of softball. She is incredibly student-centric, but at the same time not afraid to challenge them, and she has coached some of the best. I'm ecstatic that Jennifer has this opportunity in the Big 12; our Conference just got better."
-- Chris Plonsky, Chief of Staff, Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director, University of Texas.

"Jen was a phenomenal player at Texas A&M and with the USA National Team, and she has paid her dues in the coaching ranks. Kansas is getting a quality person, a coach who has great passion for the game, and a player's coach. Jen has played and coached at the highest levels, and is well aware of what it takes to compete in the Big 12. She will no doubt hit the ground running."
-- Jo Evans, Head Softball Coach, Texas A&M University (coached McFalls at A&M and hired her as an assistant coach at A&M).

"I have all the confidence in the world that Coach McFalls will lead KU softball to great heights. She is obviously savvy to the Big 12 way of doing business. She has high expectations, and can tap into success within the KU family, which is well supported."
-- Connie Clark, former Head Softball Coach, University of Texas.