Saint Leo alum Erin Kinberger named head softball coach

SAINT LEO, Fla. – Former standout student-athlete Erin Kinberger has been tabbed as Saint Leo University's tenth softball coach, as announced by Director of Athletics Francis X. Reidy.  Kinberger most recently served as the head coach at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan., where she led the Tigers to a 107-51 record in her three years at the helm.

"We are really excited to welcome Erin back to Saint Leo University. She has established herself as one of the best young coaches in all of Division II and is a perfect fit to lead our program," said Reidy. "Her record of athletic and academic success fit right in with our culture here at Saint Leo."

The four-year letterwinner returns to her alma mater after a successful three years coaching fellow Division II program FHSU.  Under her guidance, the Tigers won a program-best 47 games in 2013 and clinched the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Central Regional.  It was just their second tournament appearance in the program's history, the last occurring a decade prior in 2003. 

Kinberger also secured the Tiger's first national ranking, ascending to No. 10 in the nation as per the NFCA Top 25 poll. Her efforts at the helm of the most successful season in program history earned her the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Coach of the Year honors in addition to her players securing both MIAA Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year.

Epitomizing the core value of excellence, her 2013 squad also registered a team GPA of 3.414 in addition to their accomplishments on the field.

"It's a special opportunity to return to my alma mater. I appreciate Mr. Reidy and Dr. Kirk believing in me and giving me the opportunity to lead the Lion softball program.  Saint Leo University has a very special place in my heart, and I'm ready to help Lion softball strive for excellence and reach new heights," said Kinberger. "It's my goal to build a program that Lion fans and the University can be proud of and cheer on for many years to come."

Prior to her time at Fort Hays State, Kinberger (formerly Brunt) spent four years behind the dish for the Lions softball program, spanning from 2004-2007.  She was a career .291 hitter and currently sits seventh all-time for the program with 40 doubles. 

"Erin was one of the fiercest competitors in the history of our softball program and I know she will bring the same competitive spirit to the dugout as our head coach," said Reidy of the appointment.

During her time as a player, she led her squad to a pair of regional post-season appearances and garnered All-SSC selections in each of her years at Saint Leo.  In 2006 she was recognized as the Saint Leo Female Scholar Athlete of the Year and as a senior received the Sunshine State Conference Female Sportsmanship Award in 2007.

The Clearwater, Fla. native earned her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education in 2007 from Saint Leo University and went on to earn her master of science degree in Health and Human Performance in 2009 from Fort Hays State University.

For more on the Saint Leo University softball team visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also be sure 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' the Lions on Twitter and Instagram.