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Thursday, September 28, 2023


Holas returns home to battle alma mater

In her 12th year as UH head softball coach, Kyla Holas has meant more to the program than she will ever let you know. As the architect of a program that started from scratch in 2001, her importance cannot be understated.

“When I got here, it was so much more than I could have imagined,” Holas said. “I just saw the vision and I saw that you can sell this place as long as you could get people to show the campus.”

Since coming over from the University of Florida where she served as pitching coach, Holas has led the Cougars to 10 consecutive winning seasons, including four NCAA Regional appearances and two Super Regional appearances, all the while adapting and flourishing as the game has changed.

“In the very beginning, softball was such a different dynamic,” Holas said. “We’ve been really able to sell people that there’s an opportunity and a place for you even if it’s not one of those you used to think of as being successful.”

The 2008 squad, arguably the most successful under Holas, would go on to become the first sport in UH history to win more than 50 games, while racking up a 21-2 conference record that included seven Conference USA All-Americans.

“We had some upper-class kids who bought into the plan wholeheartedly,” Holas said. “They were a very committed group, very selfless, great leadership and of course just a very tough mental person on the mound.”

Ironically, the 2008 Cougars would come up one win short of the College World Series against Holas alma mater, Louisiana-Lafayette — the school where Holas was a three-time All-American and that now serves as a frequent opponent of the Cougars.

“A lot of times we need to schedule those out of conference games that are tougher,” Holas said. “They’re close for us and when we go there, it’s nice to have those ties. I know the area so it’s one of those things that just fits in all the right areas.”

For her success as a Ragin Cajun’, Holas has been inducted into both the Louisiana-Lafayette Hall of Fame and Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in addition to having her number 11 retired by the university. Still, when asked of her achievements, her team remains first.

“The one where our team went to the College World Series was probably my biggest accomplishment,” Holas said. “As a player, that still matters to me more than anything else.”

Nearing one month into the season with a 10-9 record, the 2012 version of Houston softball has had its ups and downs but key wins over No. 11 Oklahoma State and Texas A&M have kept Cougar fans optimistic.

“This year’s team, when we’re on, we’re one of the best [teams] we’ve ever had,” Holas said. “These kids work hard, they cheer hard and they want to win.”

Fittingly, the Cougars next opportunity to do so will come in the form of a double-header against Louisiana-Lafayette beginning today at 4 p.m.

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