In 2011, Kathy Rodolph completed her eighth season at the helm of the New Mexico state softball team, leading the Aggies to their first NCAA Tournament appearance and victory in NM State history.
Along the way Rodolph's team also claimed the program's first title of any kind with a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) regular-season championship and later clinched the WAC Tournament title. As a result Rodolph earned WAC Coach of the Year honors, just the second such award in program history.
Rodolph is the 11th head coach to direct Aggie softball. She is the winningest coach in the program's history, boasting 230 wins, as well as the longest-tenured coach. Rodolph has registered an overall NM State record of 230-232 (.498) and a 71-83 conference record (12-27 Sun Belt, 59-56 WAC). In the 13 years that Rodolph has been coaching collegiate softball, she has recorded a winning percentage of .568 (426-324).
In just eight seasons in Las Cruces, she claims three of NM State's six 30-plus win seasons in the program's 37-year history including a program-best 44 wins in 2011. After posting 14 wins in her opening season of 2004, Rodolph has won 26 or more games in each of the last seven seasons.
NM State also finished with its best conference record in 2011 of 17-4 in the WAC. The Aggies swept Boise State at home to claim the outright title in the final series of the regular season. It marked one of five series sweeps of WAC opponents in 2011, a program record. NM State also posted its first series win over Fresno State by winning two out of three games against the Bulldogs in Las Cruces.
For the third straight season, the Aggies received votes in both of the national top-25 rankings beginning April 12. NM State received votes during five weeks of the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll and collected votes in three weeks of the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll in 2011. NM State won three games over ranked opponents last season including Nebraska and Fresno State.
Rodolph also achieved a pair of coaching milestones in 2011. She posted her 200th win at NM State on Feb. 26 against North Dakota and recorded her 400th career win with a 1-0 defeat of her alma mater UTEP on March 9. The win over the Miners coincided with the best start in NM State history of 14-3 after beginning the season at 6-0 with a Hotel Encanto Invitational title
The Aggies set 11 team records in 2011 including most wins (44), best winning percentage (.727), most runs in a season (423), most hits in a season (577), most RBI in a season (375) and most home runs in a season (82).
NM State matched its program-best batting average of .341 set in 2009 when the Aggies led the NCAA, in 2011 that average ranked third overall. The Crimson and White were fifth nationally in slugging percentage at .551. The Aggies' 6.93 runs per game ranked fifth in the country and NM State ranked sixth in the NCAA with 1.34 home runs per game.
Senior Hoku Nohara led the nation in 2011 as the NCAA statistical champion for home runs per game and slugging percentage. Nohara blasted a single-season record of 24 home runs for the year, averaging 0.43 per game to lead the country. She also led the nation in slugging percentage at 1.007. Nohara also set the NM State and WAC career home run record at 64.
She also ranked third nationally in RBI per game, walks per game and on-base percentage. After the season Nohara became the first Aggie to sign a professional contract to play in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league.
Valerie Swedberg won WAC Freshman of the Year and WAC Tournament MVP honors in 2011. A program record of seven Aggies earned 2011 all-WAC distinction with six players on the first team. Nohara, Swedberg, seniors Kylie Randall and Kandis Jones along with juniors Tiare Jennings and Teresa Conrad earned first team honors. Senior Ashley Maroda garnered second team accolades. Junior Alex Newman earned WAC Tournament team honors alongside Nohara, Swedberg and Jennings.
Nohara was named to the 2011 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-American second team, the first Aggie to accomplish that feat. She and Jennings also appeared on the NFCA All-West Region Team, the third straight season that the program placed a player on that team.
Off the field, Rodolph's squad won the athletic department's community service award for the fourth consecutive season. In the classroom 10 Aggies were named to the academic all-WAC team. Eight Aggies earned NFCA Scholar athlete honors. NM State ranked No. 21 among Division I squads in 2011 with a team GPA of 3.370.
Jones became the program's fifth CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American. She and Conrad also earned CoSIDA All-District honors. Jones also claimed the program's first Stan Bates Award from the WAC that honors the top female scholar-athlete in the conference across all sports.
In 2010, Rodolph guided the Aggies to their sixth straight season of 25 wins or more while guiding the Aggies to a 27-28 overall record and a 7-14 record in WAC play. The Aggies finished sixth in both the regular season and at the WAC Tournament. In seven seasons at NM State Rodolph claims two of NM State's five 30-win seasons in the program's 37-year history.
The Aggies received votes in both of the national top-25 rankings last February after a 5-0 start, marking the second straight year the Aggies have been recognized in both polls.
In 2010, NM State finished seventh in the nation with 0.45 double plays turned per game. Rodolph's team also excelled with top-21 rankings in four offensive categories. The Aggies placed No. 18 in slugging percentage (0.495), No. 19 in batting average (0.317) No. 20 in scoring (5.84) and No. 21 in home runs per game (1.13). The 2010 season saw the Crimson and White break or tie 16 team and individual records.
Junior Hoku Nohara set the NM State led the WAC with 62 RBI and classmate Kylie Randall totaled 29 stolen bases to rank first in the conference. Nohara set career records at NM State with 40 home runs, 136 career RBI and 1,010 putouts. Meanwhile, Randall tied the NM State career record with 63 stolen bases.
Five Aggies earned all-WAC status. Sophomore Tiare Jennings earned first team all-WAC honors. Additionally, senior Angie Ortega joined juniors Kandis Jones, Hoku Nohara and Kylie Randall on the all-WAC second team. Nohara was also named to the 2010 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-West Region Team, the second straight season that the program earned the prestigious award.
Off the field, Rodolph's squad won the athletic department's community service award for the third consecutive season. In the classroom 12 Aggies, the most academic awards in the program's history in one season, were named to the academic all-WAC team.
The 2009 season marked the most productive season in the program's history. Not only did the Crimson and White smash 18 team and individual records, but the powerful Aggie bats capped the year off ranked No. 1 in the nation in batting average (.341).
It is the first time a WAC team has led the country in that category. It was a WAC single-season record for the Aggies and tied the 1998 Fresno State team for the highest team batting average in WAC history.
Additionally, NM State also ranked seventh in scoring (6.09), seventh in slugging percentage (.543) and 10th in home runs per game (1.26) throughout the country.
Rodolph led the squad in capturing six team records, which was batting average (.341), runs scored (329), RBI (314), home runs (68), total bases (794) and slugging percentage (.542). Individually, Rodolph guided the team in setting eight single-season individual offensive records and four all-time career records. Most notably, freshman sensation Tiare Jennings set five single-season records and Kristi Randall notched four all-time career records.
As the primary pitching coach, Rodolph funneled right-handed pitcher Kim Watson to practically rewriting the record book. Watson set four all-time career records, strikeouts (667), wins (65), appearances (151) and starts (121).
NM State posted its best start in the program history with a seven-game win streak, registered its 700th program win and won eight straight in the course of the season, which is another school record.
The Aggies also merited its first piece of national attention as they received votes on two major polls the last time was in 1993 and picked up four WAC Hitter of the Week awards, the most since joining the WAC, and a Pitcher of the Week award.
Four Aggies earned all-WAC status; Hoku Nohara and Angie Ortega were named first team all-WAC honors, while Tiare Jennings and Kristi Randall earned second team all-WAC accolades. Jennings was also named to the 2009 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-West Region Team, the only freshman in the program's history to earn the prestigious award.
In the classroom, Rodolph registered 10 academic awards, en route her 26th academic award since being in the program. Two Aggies, Kandis Jones and Kim Watson were named to the 2009 ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District Softball Teams first team and second team, respectively. Additionally, eight Aggies were named academic all-WAC.
In 2008, Rodolph earned her 300th collegiate victory, while guiding the Aggies to a 26-36 overall record and a 7-11 record in WAC play. The Aggies finished fifth in both the regular season and at the WAC Tournament, while playing the most demanding schedule in the program's history, which included 16 teams that were either ranked or received votes in the NFCA/USA Today or ESPN polls and the 2007 NCAA National Champions,
Individually, Rodolph had multiple athletes etch their names onto the record list, which is highlighted with former Aggie Stephanie Herrera's single-season record-setting batting average of .399 and leftfielder Kristi Randall's dominance in the run scored category, increasing her record to 111 runs scored overall.
There were also multiple defensive records set such as center fielder Kandis Jones' flawless performance in the outfield, owning the career fielding percentage recording after making 58 appearances last season.
Rodolph also had a pair of athletes; Herrera and Stacey Lien earn second team All-WAC status, along with Herrera and Maroda being named to the 2008 WAC All-Tournament Team.
Rodolph came to NM State after two years as head coach at Angelo State, a Division II school in San Angelo, Texas. She started the Angelo State program from scratch in 2002 and a year later led the Rambelles to a 50-9 record and the Lone Star Conference Championship. ASU was ranked second in the country and finished second in its region, one win from the elite eight at the NCAA Division II Tournament. Angelo State finished the 2003 season ranked eighth in the country, falling to the defending national champions, St. Mary's. That season, the Rambelles were No. 28 in the nation in scoring (5.73 runs per game) and No. 8 in the country in winning percentage (.831).
Rodolph arrived at ASU from El Paso Community College, where she served as the head softball coach from 1999-2001. During her three-year stint at EPCC, she led the Tejanas to a 74-44 record, two National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament berths and two top 25 national rankings. In addition, she maintained a 96 percent graduation and placement rate for her student-athletes. She earned Texas Junior College Coach of the Year honors in 1999.
During her three seasons at EPCC, her teams set nearly every team record including wins in a season (50 in 2001), winning percentage (.746 in 2001), runs (395 in
Prior to EPCC, Rodolph spent nine seasons as the head basketball and softball coach at El
Rodolph also coached two seasons of basketball at Tularosa (N.M.) High School and was an extremely successful student-athlete at both Clarendon Junior College (Texas) and UTEP after a spectacular high school career. Rodolph was an all-state basketball and volleyball player at Cloudcroft High School (N.M).
She played basketball for two years at Clarendon, where she was the school's valedictorian and a member of Phi Theta Kappa. At UTEP, Rodolph was a guard and forward, and despite injuries, she had a solid career for the Miners. She averaged 9.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in 1982-83. Rodolph missed the following season due to injury, but came back to average 6.2 points and 2.3 rebounds as a senior.
Rodolph earned her bachelor's degree in education with honors from UTEP in 1985 and her master's degree in physical education-sports administration from Texas Tech in 1986, graduating with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. While serving as a graduate teaching assistant in the Texas Tech physical education department, she also completed an internship with the nationally-ranked women's basketball program.