ATHENS, Ohio– Kenzie Roark has been named the 11th head coach in the history of the Ohio softball program, as announced by Director of Athletics Jim Schaus on Saturday (Aug. 25).
"Congrats to Kenzie Roark as our new head softball coach," Schaus said. "Kenzie is a grand slam hire, and we couldn't be more excited. She is well respected as a top pitching coach who has played a big role in South Carolina Upstate's position as a top Division I softball program, and one that has been to the NCAA Tournament five out of the last six years. Kenzie has tremendous energy, a strong competitive spirit and has a reputation as a players' coach who is great with her student-athletes. The future is bright under Kenzie's leadership."
In her four years at USC Upstate as the Spartans' pitching coach, Roark helped coach a team to three NCAA Tournament appearances (2015, '16 and '17). USC Upstate won the Atlantic Sun Conference Regular Season Championship in 2015 and 2017, and won the ASUN Tournament Championship in 2015, '16 and '17. The Spartans also complied three 40-win seasons during her time there, including a 45-13 record in 2017.
During her four seasons leading the pitching staff, the USC Upstate staff had the ASUN's top ERA in three-straight seasons from 2015-17. In 2017, the Spartans' pitching staff ranked sixth nationally with a 1.42 ERA, and in 2015, the staff was ranked 25thnationally, with a 2.46 ERA.
Roark coached two ASUN Pitchers of the year in Holly McKinnon (2017) and Lexi Shubert (2015). She also coached three ASUN All-Conference pitchers and one ASUN All-Freshman Team performer. She also had three pitchers named to the ASUN All-Tournament Team and one ASUN Tournament MVP.
Roark helped coach McKinnon to a National Fastpitch Coaches Association Third Team All-Region honor in 2017, and an NFCA Second Team All-Region recognition for Shubert in 2015. In 2015, Shubert won 34 games, which second in the nation. She tossed 33 complete games, which is tied for second-most all time in a single season in the ASUN.
"I want to thank Jim Schaus and Amy Dean for putting the future of Bobcat softball in my hands," Roark said. "I'm so honored to be taking over a program that has such an incredible foundation already set. I could not be more thankful for this opportunity, and I look forward to continuing the success of Ohio University Softball."
Roark came to Upstate after serving as the pitching coach at East Tennessee State from 2012-14. She assisted in all phases of the program, including heading up the pitching staff. She helped lead the Lady Bucs to their most wins since 2010 in 2014.
Roark began her coaching career as a student assistant at Virginia Tech from 2011-12 after completing a standout career with the Hokies. She was part of a coaching staff that was named the 2012 NFCA Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year and helped guide the Hokies to a 2.52 team ERA.
Roark was the ace of the staff for three of her four years at Virginia Tech and was an Atlantic Coast Conference All-Tournament and Player of the Week selection during her career. As a freshman, she was the No. 2 pitcher behind All-American Angela Tincher and helped lead the Hokies to the ACC Championship and an appearance in the 2008 College World Series.
Roark ended her collegiate playing career as one of the all-time great pitchers in Virginia Tech history. In addition to her team's accomplishments, Roark ranks second all-time with 155 career appearances, fourth with 510 strikeouts and 661.1 innings pitched, and sixth with 51 wins and a .254 opponent batting average.
Roark, a native of Nashville, Tenn., graduated from Virginia Tech in 2012 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
What they're saying about Kenzie Roark
Chris Hawkins – Head Coach, USC Upstate
"I think Kenzie will be a great fit for Ohio. She comes from Virginia Tech and was an extremely good pitcher, but not so much that as a person. I think that she has a lot of skills to be a head coach and I think she is going to be one of the great, young head coaches in the game. I couldn't be more proud of her and her accomplishments here at USC Upstate. She is always a part of our family."
Pete D'Amour – Head Coach, Virginia Tech
"I am so happy and excited for Kenzie. Her years of being on a championship staff will bring a winning mentality to Ohio and her teams will be well coached. Not only is she a great coach, she's an awesome person. Ohio University just made a great hire."