On Aug. 14, 2013, Lori Perez (formerly Meixner) was named
Sacramento State’s interim head coach for the 2013-14 season.
After a successful 2014 campaign, Perez had the interim tag removed
and was named the program's permanent head coach on June 26,
No stranger to Hornet softball, Perez took over the head coaching duties after Kathy Strahan announced her retirement after 21 years as the program’s head coach.
Perez has 14 years of experience at Sacramento State, including four seasons as a player (1999-02), nine years as an assistant coach (2005-13), and one season as the head coach (2014).
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.
During her tenure as assistant coach, Perez was influential in numerous areas of the program, including recruiting, serving as the team’s pitching coach and first-base coach, working with the catchers and infielders, as well as many other duties.
In her 10 seasons on the coaching staff, Sacramento State has combined for a 132-69 conference record, good for a .657 winning percentage. The team has finished with at least 20 wins all 10 of those seasons, including three years with at least 30 victories, as well as a 2008 conference title and NCAA Regional appearance.
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 in 2013 and 2014.
In 2014, pitchers Caitlin Brooks (first team) and Taylor Stroud (second team) both received all-league honors, including Brooks being named the unanimous Big Sky Pitcher of the Year.
In 2013, three pitchers on the staff finished with sub-3.00 ERA’s, and the team ERA of 2.33 was the top mark in the Big Sky and the 40th best in the nation among the 291 Div. I softball institutions. That includes Brooks being named first team all-Big Sky after going 14-7 with a 1.81 ERA.
In 2011, all three Hornet starting pitchers received some form of all-conference accolade, including Megan Schaefer being named to the first team for the second time in her career. All three pitchers posted sub-2.80 ERA’s.
Perez coached the 2005 and 2006 pitching staffs to ERAs of 1.88 and 2.42, respectively. Sacramento State’s total of 396 strikeouts in 2006 were just four shy of the school record of 400, set in 1995. In addition, Hornet pitchers allowed opponents just a .217 batting average that season. The 1.88 ERA in 2005 is the staff’s second best mark over the last 14 years.
In addition, the 2012 squad, spearheaded by the strong defensive play of Perez’s infielders, posted a program-record .979 fielding percentage, the second best mark in the nation.
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).
During her playing days, she was a four-year starter for the Hornets and remains the program leader in career fielding assists (495). The Petaluma, Calif., native appeared in 196 games (including 190 starts) at second base, shortstop and third base during her four-year tenure as a student-athlete at Sacramento State.
In the Hornet career Div. I record book, Perez still ranks first in assists and 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.
Perez, who resides in Sacramento, graduated from Sacramento State in the fall of 2002 with a degree in communication studies, and completed her master’s degree in recreation administration in the fall of 2011. Perez and her husband, Alex, have two children, Caroline (3) and Jimmy, who was born in September of 2013.