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Tuesday, October 3, 2023


New coach values recruiting ties, sees path forward


Kristin Vesely spent six seasons as an assistant coach for the Softball team. | UH Athletics

Softball unveiled their revamped vision that is poised for success with the hiring of the second head coach in team history on June 10.

Kristin Vesely was promoted from her former position of assistant coach to head coach following an extensive nationwide coaching search.

“It means a lot — they brought in quite a few really respected names in the game to interview,” Vesely said. “The fact that I had the opportunity to interview and won the job, that’s something we’re going to talk about even throughout our team. When you get the opportunity, take and run with it.”

Vesely has her work cut out for her, however, as softball finished their 2016 season with a record of 27-29. The team saw their postseason hopes expire in the conference tournament, which ended their run of four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Kyla Holas, the former head coach, stepped down the following day after more than a decade at the helm.

Despite spending six seasons working under Holas’ guidance, Vesely will use her familiarity with the program to solidify a new culture.

“I’m excited to get my stamp on it,” Vesely said. “There are some areas that we have to completely transition and it’s going to be brand new. Team culture, chemistry, mental toughness and physical toughness are new areas that we will really hit hard.”

The Cougars roster will look much different next season, but Vesely feels confident about the new recruits. She left a mark on the program’s recruiting ties and played a significant role in signing and developing many Cougar players over the last few seasons in her years as an assistant.

“Each team that you bring in is different,” Vesely said. “I think that we will be completely different from the ground up, starting with the coaching staff. As the team gets in, we have nine newcomers coming, so we’re pretty much going to be a new team.”

The University of Houston’s athletic programs have undergone significant revitalization in recent years. Vesely hopes to leverage off the school potentially joining a Power Five conference to attract area recruits.

With a plethora of new athletic amenities being planned, and many more already completed, Houston has become a favorable spot for potential recruits to spend their college careers.

“To be honest, I love the direction the athletic department is going,” Vesely said. “I think that that’s an easy sell in the recruiting world. We should be in the top 30 every year. We have a lot of great local talent, and we’re going to have to put a little bit of a gated area around Houston and try to get all of (the recruits) to stay home.”

Vesely is no stranger to hard work, having been a former four-year letterman in college. Coupled with the experience she has developed on the recruiting trail, Vesely expects softball to be a perennial power year in and year out.

“We want to outwork everybody, we want that top talent,” Vesely said. “We want to basically be that diamond where you continue to polish, polish it until it shines at the end of the year.”

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