Ohio hosts Kent State in Friday doubleheader before playing Saturday and Sunday at Buffalo
Excitement, energy, and a commitment to excellence may be the words best used to describe head coach Jodi Hermanek. Entering her fifth season at Ohio, Hermanek has already left an impression, whether it is the commitment to her team getting one percent better every day, or the excitement of the continuing success and advancement of Ohio softball.
The 2012 season was one of the most successful in program history, both from an offensive and pitching standpoint. Ohio's offense set seven program marks during the year, including most runs scored (293), RBI (255), home runs (47), runs scored in a single game (21), doubles hit in a single game (7), home runs in a single game (5), and RBI in a single game (15). Lauren Gellerman and Raven King each shattered the prior individual home run record, as both student-athletes belted 13 home runs during the year. Freshman pitcher Lauren McClary had a tremendous season inside the pitching circle, setting the single-season strikeout record (205) and tying for third all-time in single-season victories (17).
Ohio finished the 2012 campaign with a 28-29 record which included an impressive 14-8 mark in MAC play. Ohio had one NFCA Second Team All-Region selection, one First Team All-MAC selection, four Second Team All-MAC selections, one All-MAC Freshman Team selection, one Academic All-MAC recognition, and eight Academic All-MAC Honorable Mention nods.
During the 2011 season, Hermanek led the Bobcats to unreached heights as the team won the MAC East Regular Season Title and claimed the #2 seed in the MAC Tournament. Ohio won its first three games of the tournament and advanced to the championship game, including an upset of top-seeded Western Michigan in the semifinals. Ohio collected 26 wins on the year, the most since the 2008 season, Hermanek's first in Athens.
Hermanek has helped her players leave their marks in the Ohio softball record books. In 2011, her team blasted 35 home runs, then the best total in program history and ranked third in RBIs with 190 during the year. Individually three-time All-MAC choice Melissa Bonner and two-way standout Emily Wethington rank in the top-10 of nearly every offensive category, while one of the two holds top-four spots in hits (Bonner - 4th, 178), home runs (Wethington - 1st, 35, Bonner tied-fourth, 10), RBIs (Bonner - tied-2nd, 101) and walks (Wethington - 1st, 66).
Additionally, Hermanek guided Wethington, a First Team All-MAC choice in 2011, to become the all-time leader in wins (54) and strikeouts (558) as well as top-10 spots in nearly every pitching category.
Her student-athletes have demonstrated constant success in the classroom as well. In addition to Bonner becoming just the second softball player in program history to be named an Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America, she was joined on the Academic All-MAC team by Wethington and Jillian Van Wagnen. Six others earned Academic All-MAC Honorable Mentions for a total of 10 student-athletes recognized by the conference. That total tied for the most in the league in 2011.
Under Hermanek, Ohio has established itself as a competitive and offensively strong squad that will not shy away from tough competition. In 2010, the `Cats played five Top 25 teams and 10 teams overall that qualified for postseason play, including Tennessee and Washington, who advanced to the Women's College World Series. The challenging slate paid dividends come conference time as the `Cats recorded their most conference wins (14) since the 2002 season and ranked among the Mid-American Conference leaders in both batting (.278) and ERA (2.46) in conference play. The team also garnered five weekly Player of the Week awards.
A Colorado native, Hermanek certainly left her mark as a coach with a penchant for offense in her first season in Athens. Ohio recorded offensive marks that rank among the top 10 in school history in seven offensive categories, including hitting (fourth), runs scored (eighth), hits (10th), home runs (fifth), doubles (t-fifth), triples (t-fourth) and RBI (ninth). The `Cats' .292 team average led the Mid-American Conference, while their .351 on base percentage also ranked tops in the league. In addition, Ohio ranked second in the MAC in both slugging percentage at .414 and in doubles with 65. It also ranked third in RBI (172), triples (13) and total bases (522).
Under Hermanek's tutelage, five individuals garnered All-MAC recognition during her first year, including Alexis Joseph, who earned both First Team All-MAC and First Team All-Mideast Region honors.
Hermanek came to Ohio after having built quite a resume in her four seasons as the head coach of Southern Utah University's softball program. In the four years, she claimed two regular-season Mid-Continent Conference championships as well as a pair of conference tournament titles. With those two tournament titles, her teams earned SUU's first-ever bids to the NCAA Softball Tournament. Under Hermanek's watch the team also rewrote virtually the entire Thunderbird record book, particularly the hitting sections, where every major record was set in the past four years.
In 2008, Hermanek's Thunderbirds were powered by two first-team All-Summit League members in centerfielder Rodeo Carli and designated player Karli Jenson. Hermanek's troops also faced three Top 25 teams (No. 1 Arizona State, No. 10 Arizona and No. 21 Washington) and squared off against a handful of teams who were either in the Top 25 or receiving votes during the course of the season (BYU, Nebraska, Utah, UNLV, Loyola Marymount, Oregon and Western Kentucky). In all, the slate represented the toughest schedule in program history.
In 2007, Hermanek, a 2000 graduate of Colorado State University-Pueblo (then University of Southern Colorado), guided the team to its second-straight NCAA tournament appearance. The 2007 squad played to a 14-23 non-conference mark after facing a brutal early season schedule, but went on to finish 12-6 and in second place in regular-season Mid-Con play. The team turned it up during the postseason, however, sweeping through the Mid-Con tourney in the minimum of three games, then picking up the school's only NCAA tournament win in any sport when it downed Cal Poly 9-4 in the NCAA Regional. Her 2007 Thunderbirds set team records for hits, home runs, slugging, walks and players hit by pitches and finished second in the school's record books in runs scored, runs batted in and total bases, with top-10 finishes in doubles, walks and on-base percentage. Under Hermanek's guidance, senior catcher/shortstop Marci Pratt earned her second straight Mid-Con MVP honor and five more T-Birds earned all-conference recognition.
Hermanek also had a triumphant second season at Southern Utah, leading her team to its fourth straight Mid-Continent Conference regular-season championship, tournament championship, and for the first time in school history, to the NCAA Regional. With a 34-32 overall record and a 21-3 mark in Mid-Con play the `Birds broke school records in home runs, RBI, runs scored, hits, at bats, total bases, walks and innings pitched. The `Birds also recorded numbers in the top three for triples, doubles, stolen bases, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, strikeouts, assists and fielding percentage. Under Hermanek, Pratt earned her first Mid-Con MVP award, while four other Thunderbirds earned all-conference honors.
In Hermanek's first season at Southern Utah, she led the squad to its third straight Mid-Continent Conference regular-season championship, a 23-25-1 overall record and an 18-6 mark in Mid-Con play. Along the way the 2005 Thunderbirds belted a then-school-record 49 home runs and ranked among the nation's leaders in homers (11th), double plays (fifth with 0.49 per game), slugging percentage (18th at .469) and doubles (22nd with an average of 1.41 per game). Hermanek also helped make history by coaching shortstop Tiffany Burt to Mid-Con Player and Newcomer of the Year honors in the same season, the first time an individual has swept the awards.
Hermanek spent the previous two seasons as head softball coach at Denton High School in Denton, Texas. Prior to her time at DHS, she served three seasons as an assistant at CSU-Pueblo. She has also worked at softball camps nationwide since her graduation in 2000, including four years at Texas Woman's University's camps and two years each at University of Oklahoma's and CSU-Pueblo's camps.
In her two seasons at DHS, Hermanek led the Broncos to back-to-back winning seasons, including a 14-8 record and a fourth-place finish in the district standings in 2004.
As an assistant at CSU-Pueblo, Hermanek helped coach the squad to its best-ever season in 2001. That year, the Thunderwolves finished 52-14, were ranked seventh in NCAA Division II and claimed Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and region championships. In 2000, she helped guide the team to a third-place finish in the RMAC.
Team - Title
Ohio University - Head Coach
Southern Utah University - Head Coach
Denton High School (Texas) - Head Coach
Colorado State University-Pueblo - Assistant Coach