LORI PEREZ SHEDS INTERIM LABEL, NAMED HEAD SOFTBALL COACH
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- After completing a successful season as the interim head coach of the Sacramento State softball program, Lori Perez had the interim tag removed today and was named the program's permanent head coach.
Perez, who has 14 years of experience at Sacramento State as either a player or coach, was given the interim head coaching duties on Aug. 14, 2013, after longtime head coach Kathy Strahan announced her retirement.
Under Perez's guidance, the 2014 squad finished the year 25-21 overall and 12-4 in the Big Sky Conference. The .750 winning percentage in conference play was the program's best in 21 years, and the Hornets finished in second place in the final standings, just a half game back of first-place Idaho State (13-4).
In addition, Sacramento State saw a program-record 11 of its players receive some form of all-Big Sky recognition, including unanimous first team all-league selection and Big Sky Pitcher of the Year Caitlin Brooks. The Hornets also showed steady growth throughout the year. In fact, after posting an 8-13 record through the first 21 games of the season, Sacramento State went 17-8 over its final 25 games.
"I would like to thank Athletics Director Dr. Terry Wanless for this tremendous opportunity," Perez said. "It has been a dream come true to be a part of this program for so many years. I am looking forward to this next chapter and getting back on the field with the team next season."
Prior to her appointment to interim head coach, Perez spent nine years as an assistant with the Hornets (2005-13) after playing four seasons (1999-02) in the Green and Gold. During her 10 seasons on the coaching staff, Sacramento State has combined for a 132-69 conference record, good for a .657 winning percentage.
"Its always an exciting opportunity to bring a Hornet into the family," Wanless said. "Lori has been a student-athlete, an assistant coach and a head coach with the program, and really understands what we are trying to accomplish. She fits the mold of everything we wanted in a head coach; she is an expert in the field, has a good relationship with her players and is committed to being successful in all areas of coaching."
Perez has overseen the pitchers since the 2005 season, and over that time, Hornet hurlers have accounted for 15 all-conference selections. At least one pitcher has earned some form of all-league recognition in nine of those 10 seasons, and the staff easily led the Big Sky in ERA each of the last two years.
During her playing days, she was a four-year starter for the Hornets and remains the program leader in career fielding assists. The Petaluma, Calif., native appeared in 196 games (including 190 starts) at second base, shortstop and third base during her four-year tenure with the Hornets.
In the Sacramento State career Div. I record book, Perez not only ranks first in assists, but also eighth in walks. A team captain during both her junior and senior seasons, she earned all-Big West Conference honors in 2001 and started all but one game during her final two years with the program.
Prior to her coaching stint at Sacramento State, Perez was the lead instructor at Kelly Jackson's All-American Softball School in West Sacramento, Calif., from 2003-04. She also spent time as the head varsity coach at Center High School (Antelope, Calif.) for two years (2003-04).