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Kelly Ford, who has enjoyed success as a collegiate athlete and as a head coach at the community college level, enters her third season as the head coach of the softball program at Cal State Fullerton for 2014-15.
In her second season at the helm, Ford and the Titans were off to a quick 6-0 start to the season after a sweep of the Fullerton hosted Easton Tournament, marking the best start for the program since the 2000 campaign. Chalking up an overall record of 33-21-1 and a fourth place finish in the Big West, the Titans reached the 33-win mark for the first time since 2007 after posting five more wins than a season ago. In Big West play, the Titans produced a mark of 13-11, totalling an identical number of conference wins from the 2013 season, but with three less losses.
Boasting a league second-best RPI of (53) behind conference champions Long Beach State, the Titans strength of schedule was exceptional, inking competition against 12 teams that advanced to the NCAA postseason. Among those teams, Fullerton was able to nab an impressive win over then No. 2 Oklahoma, 3-1, marking the first program win over a second-ranked opponent since 2008.
Ford also led the Titans to a win over then No. 15 Baylor, 6-1, at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. Both Oklahoma and Baylor reached the eight-team field in the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The Titans finished strong to make a postseason push, winning seven of their final 10 games, including a three-game sweep at Cal State Northridge to conclude the season. Ford led Fullerton to a staggering improvement in a whopping 10 offensive categories including batting avg. (.300), runs (303), hits (431), doubles (70), home runs (57), RBIs (253), total bases (690), slugging pct. (.479), walks (170) and on-base pct. (.385). CSF carded its first .300 team average since the 2000 season.
Individually, Ford oversaw the first Big West Player of the Year for the program in University of Washington transfer, Missy Taukeiaho. The sophomore single-handedly rewrote both the program and conference record books in four separate categories including scoring 62 times, inking her into the books for most in a single-season, blasting 19 home runs, notching her into the No. 2 spot on the single-season charts while finishing No. 6 in RBI (51) and No. 9 in batting average with a .429 clip.
Senior Ariel Tsuchiyama joined Taukeiaho on the conference All-Big West First Team, followed by senior Leesa Harris and sophomore Samantha Galarza on the second team, junior Eliza Crawford placed as an honorable mention honoree and Christina Washington was selected on the Big West’s inaugural All-Freshman Team.
During the 2013 season, Ford accomplished several impressive feats that help set the stage for the program. The Titans committed only 48 errors (.970), which is the least amount for a single season and led the Big West Conference. Ford also guided the Titans back to a .500 record for the first time since 2009 after notching her first season with the Titans with a 28-28 overall record.
Ford is the third head coach in the Titans 35-year softball history (Garman, Gromacki) and began her duties at Cal State Fullerton after serving 11 seasons (2002-12) as the head coach at Mount San Antonio Junior College in Walnut, Calif.
Ford guided the Mt. SAC program to four California State Championships (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009), seven South Coast Conference Championships (2003-08, 2001) and has earned South Coach Conference Coach of the Year honors five times. Ford's 11-year career at the community college ends with a staggering 455-102-1 (.816) record.
Ford, who worked with Cal State Fullerton as an assistant coach in 2000 and 2001, brings nine years of experience as an assistant coach at the Division I level, adding time spent at Cal State Northridge with a year (1993) at her alma mater, Oklahoma.
The native of Portland, Oregon played two NJCAA National Championship seasons at Central Arizona College for Clint Myers (now at Auburn University) in 1988 and 1989 before her career with the Sooners under then Head Coach, Jim Beitia. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Oklahoma University in 1992 and earned a master's degree from Azusa Pacific University in Physical Education with an emphasis in Coaching. She has a three year-old daughter, Sarah.
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