Boise State softball awarded first Mountain West trophy
Boise State softball coach Cindy Ball is leaving the Broncos to take over the Central Florida program, the Orlando school announced Wednesday morning.
Ball led Boise State to its first Mountain West title and NCAA Tournament appearance this year. During her four years with the Broncos, she went 99-116, including 40-16 this spring and 73-36 the past two years.
“I feel blessed and honored to join the UCF Athletics family,” Ball said in a Central Florida news release. “The tradition and pride this institution shows fits right in with my personal goals and aspirations to help mentor and grow student-athletes through the sport of softball and the pursuit of championships.
"I wish the Boise State softball program and athletic department all the best in their endeavors. I will miss the softball team, and I thank them for the great moments we shared and our growth together."
Ball did not return a message left by the Idaho Statesman on Wednesday.
Boise State finished last in the Mountain West in Ball’s first two seasons in 2015 and 2016. But the second coach in program history has since led one of the nation’s largest turnarounds, qualifying for the NIT in 2017 before this spring’s breakout season.
Picked seventh in the nine-team Mountain West, Boise State set program records in wins (40) and conference victories (18), earning Ball the Mountain West Coach of the Year honors.
Boise State went two-and-out at the NCAA Regionals in May but returns the conference player of the year, pitcher of the year and freshman of the year.
“We're very excited to bring a coach of Cindy Ball's caliber to UCF," Central Florida Athletic Director Daniel J. White said in a release. "With her success as a head coach, making postseason appearances in each of the last two seasons, and a long history of coaching and playing experience, we knew she was the best person for the job.”
The departure for Central Florida lifts Ball into a tougher conference. Boise State was the Mountain West’s only NCAA Tournament qualifier this spring. Since joining the league in 2013, the Mountain West has been a one-bid league three of the past six years, never sending more than two teams.
The American Athletic Conference has sent multiple teams to the NCAA Tournament three times in the past five years since breaking off from the Big East, including four this spring.
Ball replaces Renee Luers-Gillispie, who founded the Central Florida program in 2002, won five league titles and resigned earlier this month to become the head coach at Iowa.