SAINT LEO, Fla. – Saint Leo University Director of Athletics Francis X. Reidy has announced the hiring of John Conway as the new head softball coach for the Lions. Conway previously served as the head coach at Division I Saint Louis University, and is the ninth head coach in Saint Leo program history.
“We are excited to have someone of John Conway’s caliber and experience, join our program,” said Reidy. “We believe his Division III and Division I experience are the perfect blend for the balance we seek in our athletic programs.”
Conway has constructed an extensive and distinguished coaching resume, commanding both Division III Fontbonne and Division I Saint Louis’ programs over the past seven seasons. During his tenure at Fontbonne, Conway stockpiled a 117-51 record, collected 40 St. Louis Intercollegiate Conference victories, made three NCAA Tournament appearances, and posted two NCAA Tournament wins. At Saint Louis University, Conway solidified himself as one of the top coaches in program history. He has instructed three Atlantic-10 First Team athletes, in addition to three second-team members and four All-Rookie affiliates.
Reidy continued, “He has been successful at two Catholic institutions and we are confident he will be get Saint Leo back into the regional conversation.”
"I am excited to be joining the athletic staff at Saint Leo University,” said Conway. “The softball program has been one of the top programs in the Sunshine State Conference in the past, and I look forward to the challenge of maintaining the reputation of success the program has known. I am anxious to get started and to get to know the players and their talents.”
Conway comes to Saint Leo after a record-setting 2010 season for the Bilikens as they ended the year with their first-ever 30-win season. The team finished fourth in the Atlantic 10 by winning 12 conference contests and wrapped-up the season by posting a pair of victories at the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
In his first full season at the helm, Conway made an immediate impact for Saint Louis, leading the squad to a program-record 29 wins in 2007. In the midst of breaking 25 team and individual records, the squad earned their first appearance in the Atlantic 10 Championship and closed the campaign with a second-place conference finish.
The Bilikens followed with a third-place Atlantic 10 finish in 2008. The team registered an 11-8 conference mark, as well as posting the program’s first back-to-back 20 win seasons (23 wins). The highlight of their season, however, came at the conference championships when the No. 3-seeded Bilikens made a run to the conference title game.
He led Saint Louis to a 12-6 conference mark and concluded 2009 with a third-place finish.
Conway began his collegiate coaching stretch in 2003 at Fontbonne University. While at Fontbonne, Conway turned a three-win squad in 2002 into a conference champion as his team registered a 23-14 record. As a result, the group chronicled its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. He garnered St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Coach of the Year and NCAA Division III Midwest Region Coach of the Year.
Following a second-place conference finish in 2004, Conway led the Griffins to their second NCAA tournament appearance in three years. On the march to the NCAA’s, the team asserted themselves as SLIAC Conference Tournament Champions, as well as achieving a program-best 33-13 record.
Another NCAA appearance was on tap for the Griffins in 2006, as they once again snapped the school record for wins in a season with 34. In conference action, Conway’s group amassed an 11-1 mark, while finishing the campaign as SLIAC Coach of the Year for the second time.
Still, his coaching career goes beyond the college ranks, as he helmed some of the best club and travel league teams in the Midwest. He led a pair of national powerhouses, St. Louis Chaos and the St. Louis Sluggers, to multiple Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and National Softball Association (NSA) regional and national appearances.
Conway received his undergraduate degree in business management/administration from Tarkio (Mo.) College in 1989 and has also served our nation as a member of the United States Coast Guard. He is married to Kathy Conway and has three children.