Photos from the opening round of the 2014 NCAA regional between Boston University and No. 11 Arizona.
Kathryn Gleason, a 17-year coaching veteran with a combined four appearances in the Women's College World Series as a player and assistant, returns for her third season as the head coach of the Boston University softball team after leading the Terriers to the 2014 Patriot League title.
This past year, the Terriers went 36-21 and made their second NCAA appearance in three seasons. BU struggled early on trying to find its identity with eight newcomers but eventually pulled it all together entering the month of April. The squad won 13 games straight and went a perfect 3-0 in the conference tournament.
The momentum carried over to the NCAAs in which BU overcame a hard-fought 9-6 loss to then-No. 11 Arizona with a dominating 8-3 victory over American Athletic Conference champion Louisville. The Terriers were the only fourth-seeded squad in the postseason tournament to earn a win and were one out away from adding a second against then-No. 23 LSU. The win over the Cardinals also marked the first NCAA victory by a Patriot League member since 2009.
Highlighted by Brittany Younan's PL Rookie of the Year Award, six Terriers earned All-Conference accolades with Jayme Mask also receiving NFCA All-Region First Team honors. They helped BU set a school record for batting average (.308), hits (476), doubles (88) and stolen bases (105). Individually, Brittany Clendenny set a school record for RBIs in a season with 53 (2nd most in PL history), while Mask concluded her career first or tied-for-first all-time at BU in runs scored, stolen bases and hits.
Another memorable moment of the season was three-time PL Pitcher of the Week Melanie Russell pitching BU's 22nd no-hitter and eighth perfect game in program history. Her performance against Bucknell proved to be the fourth perfect game in PL history to go all seven innings.
In Gleason's first season, the Terriers faced multiple injuries, including the loss of the 2012 America East Pitcher of the Year, but still went 21-26-1. Highlights included wins over two 2013 NCAA tournament participants, Southern Conference champion Georgia Southern and Big Sky champion Portland State. BU also claimed a two-game sweep over ACC member Boston College.
A total of five Terriers earned All-Conference honors with Jayme Mask being named 2013 America East Player of the Year. Under Gleason, the outfielder increased her hitting average by 32 points to a league-high .399 and also tied a school record with 37 stolen bases, topping her previous high by 12. Mask also earned ECAC Division I All-Star and NFCA All-Northeast Region First Team accolades.
Accepting her first head coaching position at BU, Gleason was already quite familiar with the Terriers, having spent a combined six seasons at the University of Massachusetts, including the last two as associate head coach. Working primarily with the Minutewomen's infielders, she helped lead the team to the 2012 Atlantic 10 Championship and a 38-13 overall record after finishing 29-19 in 2011.
Gleason previously served as an assistant coach with the Minutewomen from 1996-2000, helping lead the team to two Women's College World Series appearances. Before rejoining UMass in 2010, she coached for six years at Michigan State, serving the last five years as associate head coach. She primarily worked with the infield, coaching six All-Big Ten and four All-Region honorees, along with guiding the Spartans to four straight Big Ten Tournament berths. She served as the program's recruiting coordinator and assistant director of all camps and clinics. Gleason was also the Spartans' liaison for the Friends of Jaclyn program.
Joining the Spartans' staff in June of 2004, Gleason moved to State following a three-year stint as an assistant coach at Purdue University (2001-2004) and four years as an assistant coach at UMass (1996-2000).
While working with the Boilermakers, Gleason assisted with team academics, equipment, promotions, tournaments, facilities, recruiting and strength & conditioning. On game days, she supervised and directed the outfield and assisted with the offense. Additionally, she worked with Purdue's softball camps and clinics.
During her first stint at UMass, Gleason helped lead the Minutewomen to four Atlantic 10 regular season conference titles and four A-10 Championships. They made four appearances in the NCAAs, including winning the 1997 and 1998 NCAA Regional Championships, as well as advancing to the Women's College World Series both years.
Gleason earned her bachelor's degree in sport management and communications from the University of Michigan in 1996. She was a member of the 1993, `95 and `96 Big Ten regular season championship teams, the `95 and `96 Big Ten Tournament Championship teams, and played in the `95 and `96 Women's College World Series while serving as co-captain of the `96 team.
Holding a master's degree in sport management from UMass, Gleason is heavily involved with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), currently serving as first vice president after previously working as the second vice president and assistant coach representative for the association.
A native of Country Club Hills, Ill., she was inducted into the Marian Catholic High School Hall of Fame as "Athlete of the Year" in the 2002 induction class. Gleason was also inducted into the East Suburban Catholic Conference High School Hall of Fame in March 2008.