Kristen Butler enters her third season as head coach of the University of Toledo softball program.
Last season, Butler coached Toledo to its first berth in the Mid-American Conference tournament since back-to-back appearances in 2012 and 2013. The 2016 Rockets finished the regular season on a 13-game winning streak, the longest unbeaten stretch since 1992 when UT recorded 13- and 14-game winning streaks. Toledo also finished last season with its first winning MAC record (12-11) since 1997 and its highest conference winning percentage (.522) since 1996.
In 2016, Butler coached 2B Chandler Rice to a first-team All-MAC selection and OF Jessica Lemieux to second-team All-MAC honors. In her first season, Butler helped 1B Samantha Showalter earn 2015 All-MAC freshman team honors.
Since her arrival at UT, the Rockets have increased their total doubles, home runs, stolen bases and fielding percentage. Fourteen of Butler’s student-athletes have earned Academic All-MAC honors between 2014-16.
Prior to coming to Toledo, Butler spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Charleston Southern, focusing primarily on pitching and catching duties. In 2014, Charleston Southern went to the NCAA Regionals, and won the Big South Tournament. One of her pitchers, Cheyenne Gandara, was named the MVP of the tournament. She joined the CSU coaching staff in September of 2012 after previously coaching at Mississippi Valley State and the Florida.
While at MVSU, Butler and the rest of the coaching staff were honored as the Southwestern Athletic Conference Coaching Staff of the Year after helping lead the Devilettes to a SWAC Championship and the NCAA Super Regionals.
A native of Orlando, FL, Butler was a four-year starter from 2003-06 at Florida where she played both catcher and third base. She earned Southeastern Conference Player of the Year following her senior campaign in which she set a new single-season home run record for the Gators. She also was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team in 2006 en route to graduating cum laude with a degree in sport management.
Butler was a National Fastpitch Coaches Association Scholar Athlete all four seasons at UF and was named to the SEC All-Tournament Team in her first season with the Gators.
After graduation, Butler played four years with the Akron Racers of the National Professional Fastpitch League where she was awarded defensive player of the year honors in 2008. Butler continued her playing career in the Japan National League with Denso Softball, and set a Japanese national record with three home runs in one game. Butler played with the Chicago Bandits of the NPF as a catcher and designated player from 2012-15. Butler retired from the National Professional League in 2015 and remains the all-time record holder in home runs and RBI's.
Butler is currently working on her master of business administration and she and her husband, Marcus, are the parents of one son, Austin.