Cat Heifner enters her seventh season as the associate head coach and ninth season as part of the Aggie coaching staff in 2012. Heifner's primary focus is to continue building the Aggies' record-setting offense, recruiting and assisting in all aspects of the program.
Primarily in charge of hitting, Heifner's athletes have rewritten the NM State record books during her eight seasons with the program. The amount of records changed in her tenure is supported by the plethora of athletes now in the Aggie offensive record books.
Prior to her tenure only four Aggies scored 34-plus runs in a season. Heifner has guided over a dozen players to achieve that feat and now boasts the top five spots led by 2011 senior Kandis Jones. The same can be said for hits. Only two Aggies prior to Heifner notched over 67 hits in a season. But under the associate head coach six Aggies have recorded more hits led by Jones in 2011 with 82.
The record shifts are even more dramatic in total bases, home runs and RBI. Heifner molded nine of the top 10 single-season hitters in program history. Seven of the top eight single-season home run leaders have also occurred under Heifner. Eleven of the top 12 single-season RBI leaders have also played for the coach.
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.
In 2010, Heifner's lineup 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.
One of the biggest accomplishments in NM State softball history, Heifner guided the Aggies to cap 2009 as the No. 1 team in the nation with a batting average of .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 was also ranked seventh in scoring (6.09), seventh in slugging percentage (.543) and 10th in home runs per game (1.26) throughout the country.
Under Heifner's direction, the squad captured six team records, which were batting average (.341), runs scored (329), RBI (314), home runs (68), total bases (794) and slugging percentage (.542). Individually, she paced 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.
During the 2008, the softball team either set or tied 38 NM State all-time, single-season, individual, game or career records with 28 offensive records. NM State also recorded the most home runs (39) hit in a season. Heifner also helped fine-tune then freshman powers Ashley Maroda and Hoku Nohara bats as they smacked 12 and 10 home runs a piece, ranking the tied for second and third, respectively, in the NM State all-time single-season record book.
Heifner came to NM State from Angelo State where she coached for two seasons with head coach Kathy Rodolph. During her time at ASU, Heifner guided the Rambelles' offense to a pair of outstanding seasons.
In 2003, ASU hit a remarkable .315, ranking them in the top 30 in Division II. Angelo State ranked in the top 25 in six other statistical categories including: home runs, stolen bases, walks, runs scored per game, triples per game and runs scored. Heifner's offensive strategy helped ASU to a 50-9 season record. Heifner also coached three Division II All-Americans.
In 2002, her first season with ASU, she made her mark on the Lone Star Conference coaching Alexis Wing to the LSC batting title (.446). The Belles also finished second in the league batting race with a .309 team average.
Prior to ASU, Heifner was an assistant coach for Rodolph at El Paso Community College from 1999-2000. She also served as interim head coach for one year at EPCC (1997) posting a 20-21 record.
Before going to Angelo State, Heifner served as assistant coach for Midland College, where she helped lead the team to its first-ever conference and regional championship during the 2001 season. The team finished seventh in the nation at the Junior College World Series in Kissimmee, Fla., while maintaining a 3.23 team grade point average.
During her five years of junior college coaching experience, Heifner won three conference and regional championships and advanced to the NJCAA World Series three consecutive years. Heifner coached three teams to consecutive top 10 rankings for team batting average as well.
Heifner received her bachelor's degree in English from UTEP in 1997. She is currently working towards her master's degree in sports psychology from the University of Texas - Permian Basin. Heifner was born in Landstuhl, Germany.