OKLAHOMA CITY – USA Softball, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, announced that Ken Eriksen has been selected as the head coach for the 2018 USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) for what will be his eighth-consecutive season. Selected by members of the USA Softball Women’s National Team Selection Committee (WNTSC), Eriksen will lead the Red, White and Blue at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s World Championship (WWC) August 2-12, 2018 in Chiba, Japan, in addition to other events on the 2018 schedule.
“Once again, it’s an honor to be thought of as someone who has been entrusted with progressing this program to be successful at the 2018 World Championship,” said USA Softball WNT Head Coach, Ken Eriksen. “That is what our focus will be on as we pick the team in January and train in the early part of the summer.”
In 2011, Eriksen took over the Women’s National Team (WNT) Program and ushered in a new era of USA Softball with a roster comprised of international rookies. Eriksen continued the legacy established before him, leading a strong U.S. roster which produced a Gold Medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. In his tenure with the USA Softball WNT Program, Eriksen has amassed two WBSC World Championships Silver Medals before reclaiming the Gold at the 2016 WBSC World Championship in Surrey, B.C., Canada. He also boasts four World Cup of Softball titles and a Silver Medal from the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
After hanging up his cleats as a player, his first head coach role with the USA Softball National Team Program came in 1997 when he led the USA Softball Junior Men’s National Team (JMNT) at the WBSC Junior Men’s World Championship in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Five years later, he joined the WNT as an assistant coach in 2002 – the same year the team captured a Gold Medal at the WBSC World Championship. A highlight of his Team USA coaching resume includes being an assistant coach in the 2003 Pan Am Games which won Gold and going on to coach at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens where the U.S. Olympic Softball Team would put on one of the most dominant performances in Olympic history. Eriksen tacked on another Gold Medal as an assistant coach at the 2010 WBSC Championship in Caracas, Venezuela.
“We are honored to have Coach Eriksen leading our Women’s National Team for the 2018 WBSC Women’s World Championship,” said USA Softball Executive Director, Craig Cress. “Since taking over the program in 2011, Eriksen has continued the legacy established before him while shaping and developing the program during softball’s absence from the Olympic Games platform. We look forward to watching Coach Eriksen and the Women’s National Team defend the WBSC Women’s World Championship title next summer in Chiba."
As a player, Eriksen began playing USA Softball when he joined the Clearwater Bombers, playing from 1987-1992 while batting .347 in 1992 and .456 in the Men’s Major Fast Pitch Nationals. Eriksen was a part of the Miller-Toyota team and Tampa Smokers up until 1997 when he won the Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship with his fellow teammates. Eriksen racked up additional honors on the international scene, earning a silver medal at the Pan American Games (1991) and was a three-time Olympic Festival participant (1993, 1994 and 1995), where he took home an additional silver medal at the 1995 Olympic Festival. Eriksen retired shortly after playing for the USA Select Team, which was the first American athletic team to compete in communist Cuba in over 30 years (1958).
Collegiately, Eriksen has been at the helm of the University of South Florida softball program since 1996. Since Eriksen's first year, the Bulls have gone to 12 NCAA post season appearances, two NCAA Super Regionals, a College World Series berth, five conference titles (in three conferences: C-USA, BIG EAST, and The American), has produced over 850 wins and a numerous amount of All-Americans, Academic All-Americans, All-Conference players, and NCAA All-Region players.
-- Courtesy of USA Softball