Slate Features Four Tournament Teams, Defending National Champions
Mean Green Add Three Infielders, Pitcher
Compliance Paperwork Due Sept. 20, Tryouts to Be Held Sept. 22
Mean Green Open Against Texas A&M-Commerce on Sept. 30
Schkade Becomes First North Texas Softball All-America Selection
Tracey Kee recently completed her fourth season at North Texas as one of the winningest active coaches in NCAA Division I, boasting a career record of 781-479-1. Hired in August 2013, she became the fourth Mean Green softball head coach in the current era. In her four years, Kee has led the program to record heights and several program records and firsts.
The 2017 squad rebounded after a disappointing 2016 campaign, securing 25 wins with the 10th-toughest non-conference schedule in the nation and the 36th-toughest overall schedule. The Mean Green tallied 11 conference wins, good for the No. 7 seed in the Conference USA Championship tournament, its third under Kee. Three players garnered all-conference honors as Kelli Schkade was named to the first team, while Lindsay and Lacy Gregory were named to the All-Freshman squad.
The 2016 team set a program record for steals in a season (81) and matched the highest batting average mark (.279). The 81 steals was good for an average of 1.47 a game, the 47th best mark in Division 1.
In three of Kee's four seasons at North Texas, the team's defense has been ranked in the top-50 nationally, peaking at No. 5 in the 2015 season (.978).
In 2014, Kee took the Mean Green to the most wins in the program’s 12-year history with 31 victories. In 2015, North Texas upset No. 7 Baylor on the road in Waco, the highest ranked team that the Mean Green have defeated in program history and just their second-ever top-25 win. And then, in 2016, North Texas received votes in one of the national polls for the first time in school history after knocking off No. 21 Baylor two times in Waco. The Mean Green knocked-off a nationally-ranked Baylor yet again in 2017, securing a 3-2 extra-inning victory in Waco.
Under Kee, North Texas has had first-team All-Conference USA selections in four straight years and six all-conference selections overall in three years, including Kat Strunk, a two-time honoree and the 2014 C-USA Newcomer of the Year, the first specialty award in program history. Schkade also garnered first-team honors in 2016-17.
|Birthdate||Dec. 28, 1967|
|High School||Saint Gertrude (Va.) High School|
|College||East Carolina University, 1990 (B.S.)
East Carolina University, 1995 (M.A.)
Master of Arts in Education with Athletic Administration
|College||East Carolina University (1987-90)|
|High School||Saint Gertrude (Va.) HS (1983-86)|
|2013-present||University of North Texas, Head Coach|
|1997-2012||East Carolina University, Head Coach|
|1991-96||East Carolina University, Assistant Coach|
|1997||Big South Regular Season|
|1998||Big South Regular Season|
|1999||Big South Regular Season
Big South Tournament
|2000||East Coast Athletic Conference Tournament|
|2001||East Coast Athletic Conference Tournament|
|2010||Conference USA Regular Season
Conference USA Tournament
|2011||Conference USA Tournament|
|NCAA TOURNAMENT APPEARANCES
|Years||1999, 2008, 2010, 2011|
|1997||Big South Coach-of-the-Year|
|2005||Conference USA Coach-of-the-Year|
|2009||Conference USA Coach-of-the-Year|
|2010||Conference USA Coach-of-the-Year|
|2010||National Fastpitch Coaches Association Mideast Region Coaching Staff-of-the-Year|
|2011||National Fastpitch Coaches Association Mideast Region Coaching Staff-of-the-Year|
|HEAD COACHING RECORD
|781-479-1 (.619)||223-193 (.536)|
In 2015, Taylor Schoblocher earned Amateur Softball Association/USA Softball National Player of the Week honors, the program’s first national award.
As a team, under Kee, the Mean Green have set several program records, including the most conference wins (14), most runs scored (272), most RBI (242), highest batting average (.279), steals (81), highest fielding percentage (.978) and fewest errors committed (30).
In 2014, Ashley Kirk broke the single-season wins record with 22 victories and single-season strikeout record with 214. In 2015, Schoblocher set the single-season marks for on-base percentage (.477) and slugging percentage (.833) and finished with the second-best single-season batting average (.389) and second-most home runs (17) and total bases (120).
Off the field, North Texas softball graduates Lauren Poole and Madison Thompson were awarded the Jim Castaneda Postgraduate Scholarship in consecutive years, the first and second North Texas athletes to receive the honor in school’s first two years of conference membership.
Kee has also coached six (Sarah Barker, Mackenzie Grimes, Jami Schkade, Kelli Schkade, Shelbie Smith and Madison Thompson) NFCA All-America Scholar Athletes at North Texas.
Prior to North Texas, Kee compiled a 684-362 record in 16 seasons as the East Carolina head coach, and guided the Pirates to four NCAA Tournament appearances including three in her last five years. Kee and her staff were also named a National Fastpitch Coaches Association Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year honoree twice.
She also captured nine league championships, with back-to-back C-USA Tournament titles in 2010 and 2011. From 2009 to 2011, no Conference USA program won more games than East Carolina's 125.
ECU recorded 41 victories in 2011 to become only the fourth team in C-USA history to win 40 or more games in three-straight seasons. Kee's clubs have reached the 40-victory plateau 12 of her 16 seasons. Four times her teams have tallied 50 or more wins, including the 2000 group she directed to a school-record 60 victories. Personally, she reached the 650-win threshold as a head coach in 2011.
ECU won its first C-USA titles in 2010, claiming both the regular season and tournament titles before repeating as tournament champions in 2011.
In just her first season as head coach in 1997, Kee's team posted a 49-24 record, and she was named Big South Coach of the Year. Two seasons later, in 1999, East Carolina won 50 games and made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Under Kee's tutelage, many players have earned all-conference and all-region honors. During her time in the Big South, she led 11 all-conference players, two Rookie of the Year selections, the league's tournament MVP, Denise Reagan, in 1999 and the two-time league player-of-the-year in Polonius (1998 and 1999).
The accolades continued in Conference USA as Kee's players received 12 first-team selections and 15 second-team honors. Additionally, 14 student-athletes have been named to the all-rookie team with two named the league's freshman of the year.
In 2009, Kee led Toni Paisley to Conference USA Female Athlete of the Year honors, becoming just the second softball selection in league history. Kee also helped Paisley to three-straight C-USA Pitcher of the Year awards from 2009-11 and to Louisville Slugger/NFCA Third-Team All-America honors in 2010. Six players have also received all-region recognition under Kee since joining C-USA.
Kee played her high school ball at Saint Gertrude in Richmond, Va., from 1983-86 before a stellar career for East Carolina from 1987-1990. In 2009, she was inducted into the St. Gertrude Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2014, she was inducted into the Central Virginia ASA Hall of Fame.
She graduated from ECU in May 1990 with a bachelor's degree in physical education and, in 1995, earned her master's degree from ECU in exercise and sport science with a concentration in physical education.