(LOUISVILLE, Kentucky / June 12, 2019) – The Oklahoma State softball coaching staff has been named the NFCA Midwest Regional Coaching Staff of the Year following its efforts in guiding the Cowgirls back to the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 2011.
It is the second time that head coach Kenny Gajewski and his staff have been recognized during his four seasons in Stillwater. They were previously honored after the 2017 season.
Gajewski and his staff led the Cowgirls to a 45-17 mark and their fourth-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2019.
OSU’s 45 wins was the program’s highest single-season total since 1994. Twenty-three of OSU's wins came against teams that were either ranked or receiving votes in at least one of the national polls, and 11 of them were triumphs over top-15 opponents.
During Super Regionals and the WCWS, OSU faced No. 4 Florida State three times on the road, No. 8 Florida, No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 2 Washington. The Pokes went 3-3 in those matchups, picking up two wins in Tallahassee to advance to Oklahoma City and bested the Gators to earn the program’s first World Series win since 1998.
Oklahoma State won a school-record eight games during postseason play and picked up 13 victories during Big 12 action in the regular season – the most by a Cowgirl squad since 2003.
The Cowgirl coaching staff also included assistant coaches Stacie Pestrak and Jeff Cottrill, as well as volunteer assistant Cody Barham.
Pestrak worked primarily with the outfielders and coached the Cowgirls at first base. Cottrill, the pitching coach, helped OSU post its second-straight season with a sub-3.00 ERA in the circle and also assisted with the team’s hitters frequently during the year. Both coaches have been with Gajewski during all four years of the head coach’s tenure in Stillwater.
Barham, meanwhile, assisted in coaching the pitching staff and worked with the Cowgirls on their short-game skills, such as slapping and bunting. The 2019 season was his first at OSU.
Oklahoma State finished at No. 6 in both the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25, the program’s highest ranking since slotting in at No. 4 at the end of the 1998 season.