Oklahoma State hires Kenny Gajewski as head softball coach
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State has named Kenny Gajewski the seventh head coach in program history, it was announced on Saturday by OSU director of athletics Mike Holder.
Gajewski has served the past three seasons as an assistant coach at Florida, which won its second consecutive Women's College World Series earlier this month.
"I'm excited for our young women who will get to play for Kenny and his staff and I'm excited about the future of our program," Holder said. "Kenny has been part of the last two national championship teams at Florida and that is certainly impressive. But we hired Kenny because of who he is as an individual. We had a very deliberate and thorough process and talked to a lot of smart people. Kenny's name continued to surface in just about every circle. I think the Oklahoma State family is going to love him."
The Gators advanced to the WCWS in each of Gajewski's three seasons with the team, thanks in large part to his influence on defense. After guiding the squad to the top two fielding percentages in school history in 2013 and '14, he again improved the defense in 2015, as the Gators committed only 33 errors and posted a .981 conversion mark in the field.
In 2015, Florida posted top-25 NCAA marks in earned run average (1.63), scoring (6.55 runs per game) and on-base percentage (.438), in addition to leading the nation in the fielding percentage category. The Gators' 60-7 record led the country in win-loss percentage and marked the second-highest win total in school history.
"I really can't wait to get started," Gajewski said. "We are all aware of the history and tradition of Oklahoma State softball and that certainly played a part in my initial interest. After visiting campus and spending time with the people at Oklahoma State, I realized it was a better situation than I had even imagined. It's a part of the country that is obviously very important to my family. It's a destination job for us."
Prior to joining the Gators, Gajewski spent the 2011-12 season as the director of baseball operations at Tennessee. With the Volunteers, he was in charge of managing UT's camps, overseeing student managers and handling the day-to-day operations of the baseball program.
Gajewski's roots trace back to Oklahoma, where he played for the Sooner baseball squad in 1994 and earned his first coaching stint as a graduate assistant the following season. Gajewski then served as a volunteer assistant at Kansas State in 1996 before returning to Norman, where he would begin a 10-year stretch as the Sooners' turf and maintenance director.
"Really excited for Kenny and his whole family," Florida head coach Tim Walton said. "This is a great opportunity for him to make softball his life. He is full of passion, energy and truly a great person. Oklahoma State is getting a great coach. He really helped us in the process of developing our fundamentals and taking our game to another level. I'm genuinely excited for him and appreciate all he did for us during his time at Florida."
"I owe so much to everyone associated with Florida softball, especially athletic director Jeremy Foley and head coach Tim Walton," Gajewski said. "They helped make today happen for me. We have loved our three years in Gainesville and we made so many friends along the way. But we are excited about the new challenges ahead.
"I am looking forward to meeting the team, our incoming student-athletes and all of our softball alumni."