Central Connecticut softball Coach Jeff Franquet has added Katie Burkhart to his coaching staff for the upcoming year. Burkhart will serve as pitching coach for the Blue Devils. Central will be her first collegiate coaching position, but she brings a wealth of experience as a collegiate and professional player.
"Katie comes to us with proven success. We are so fortunate to have a coach with her experience and ability," Franquet said. "She will make a huge difference with our pitching staff this year."
Franquet is very familiar with his new coach, having selected Burkhart when he was the head coach of the Philadelphia Force of the National Pro Fastpitch League. Burkhart was the number one overall selection in the 2008 NPF Draft, and then produced an exceptional rookie season, which culminated in NPF Player of the Year honors.
In 2009, she earned a place on the United States National Team where she helped her team to a gold medal at the Japan Cup.
Burkhart, an All-American at Arizona State, holds every major pitching record for the Sun Devils including wins, innings pitched and strikeouts. She was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year back-to-back seasons in 2007 and 2008. In 2008, Burkhart led the Sun Devils to a National Championship and earned NCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player honors in the process. She finished her career seventh in NCAA history in strikeouts with 1,670 and 20th in victories with 118.
"Katie Burkhart is among the best pitchers in NCAA history," Franquet added, "She has a NCAA National Championship, USA National Team experience and seasons in three professional leagues on her resume. The physical and mental part of pitching is a big determining factor in the success of the pitcher. Our pitchers now have the ability to pick the brain of a National Champion pitcher on a daily basis. Katie's ability to help with all aspects of pitching is going to make our staff very good this year."
Burkhart joins a Blue Devil program that reached their first Northeast Conference Softball Tournament last May. The team set a new program record for wins in a season with 29. The Blue Devils will open their Fall schedule with a home doubleheader on September 25th.