SIU returns key pieces, will try to replace five starters
Event starts at 6 p.m. at Copper Dragon
Hitting and defense camp June 17-18; Pitching camp July 8-9
SIU second baseman led the MVC in doubles in 2014
SIU searching for first tournament title since 1991
Photos from SIU's game vs. Evansville at Charlotte West Stadium on April 22, 2015.
SIU vs. Bradley; March 15-16, 2015
SIU at Puerto Vallarta College Challenge; Feb. 26-28, 2015; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
SIU at Wichita State, 4/27/14
SIU at Missouri State, 3/29-30/14
Updated June 3, 2014
Kerri Blaylock enters her 16th year as the head coach and 25th year overall with the Saluki softball program. She has won 543 games in her 15 seasons as SIU's head coach and has the best winning percentage (.661) of any MVC 500-win coach.
Including her nine seasons as an assistant under her mentor, Saluki Hall of Famer Kay Brechtelsbauer, and her 15 years as the team's skipper, Blaylock has helped Saluki softball maintain its position as one of the elite programs in the Missouri Valley Conference while elevating the program to national prominence. All told, SIU has won four conference titles and made six NCAA Tournament appearances with Blaylock on the staff.
As a head coach, Blaylock has led SIU to more than 500 wins and three MVC titles with five NCAA Tournament appearances while producing 72 All-Conference selections. Entering the 2015 season, Blaylock ranks first among active MVC coaches in career winning percentage (.660) with a record of 541-279. That ranks her 26th nationally in winning percentage among active Division I coaches with five years of service or more. She holds a .690 winning percentage in MVC games (245-110) and has been a member of five MVC Coaching Staffs of the Year.
In addition to Southern's on-field success, Blaylock's teams have consistently ranked among the nation's best in the classroom as well. SIU has ranked among the top 20 nationally in team GPA every season since 2001 with seven top-five finishes. The Salukis ranked second nationally for team GPA in both 2007 and 2011. SIU players have earned 79 MVC Scholar-Athlete awards and 11 Academic All-America honors under Blaylock.
The NCAA began giving out Public Recognition Awards in 2003 for programs in the top 10 percent in their sport in APR over each four-year rolling period. SIU is theo nly school in the MVC to earn the distinction, and Blaylock's programs have earned the honor on six occasions.
YEAR-BY-YEAR AT SIU
Blaylock took the reins of the program in 2000 after the retirement of Kay Brechtelsbauer, who coached SIU for 32 years. Blaylock served nine seasons as an assistant under Brechtelsbauer, including five as the team's pitching coach.
Saluki softball didn't falter during the transition from Brechtelsbauer to Blaylock. As a first-year head coach in 2000, Blaylock led SIU to a 41-22 record, the first 40-win season since the Salukis went 41-16 in 1997. SIU hasn't won fewer than 25 games or finished worse than fifth in the MVC in the 14 seasons since.
SIU finished in the top three in the MVC each year from 2001-03 with Blaylock's staff earning MVC Coaching Staff of the Year in both 2002 and 2003. Individually, SIU had the MVC's Rookie of the Year in both 2002 (Amy Harre) and 2003 (Katie Louis). The 2003 Salukis went 39-14 and earned the program's first NCAA Tournament bid since 1991. SIU advanced to the Regional final in the 2003 NCAA Tournament for the program's first-ever Sweet 16 appearance.
Blaylock broke through with her first MVC championship in 2004, setting a then-program record for wins with a 45-17 overall record with an 18-6 mark in the Valley. The Salukis followed up by setting a new MVC record for wins in 2005 that still stands today. SIU went 47-14 and set a program record for conference wins with a 24-3 mark in the Valley to win its second-consecutive MVC title. The 2004 and 2005 teams both advanced to the NCAA Tournament and Blaylock's staff also made it four-straight seasons by being named the MVC's Staff of the Year in 2004 and 2005.
SIU stretched its streak of consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances to five-straight, earning at-large bids in both 2006 and 2007. The 2007 squad spent a school-record 13-consecutive weeks ranked in the top 25 nationally, including a program-best No. 18 ranking.
SIU finished third in the MVC in 2008 with Lauren Haas earning the program's first Valley Player of the Year honor since 1997. In 2009, SIU had its best start in school history at 13-1 and went on to finish second in the MVC. The Salukis made it back into the national rankings again in 2009, tying a program-best by elevating as high as No. 18.
The 2010 season saw SIU climb back atop the MVC standings for the third Valley title of the Blaylock era, and the program was rewarded with its fifth MVC Coaching Staff of the Year honor under Blaylock. The Salukis followed up with a pair of 36-win seasons in 2011 and 2012 as Mallory Duran-Sellers became the second MVC Player of the Year under Blaylock in 2012.The program won 53 games in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, including a third-place finish in the MVC in the 2014 campaign.
On March 21, 2013 Blaylock recorded her 500th career win with a 7-6 victory over Saint Louis. Blaylock became the second coach in SIU history and the eighth in Missouri Valley Conference history to reach the 500-win mark.
Blaylock had a stellar playing career in addition to her coaching successes. She was considered one of the top three pitchers in the state as a prep at nearby Herrin High School, according to the Chicago Tribune, compiling a record of 65-7 from 1980-84. She set marks for wins and strikeouts for Herrin High and became the first female athlete ever selected to the Herrin High School Hall of Fame in 1992.
Following her successful prep career, Blaylock attended the University of Evansville, where she developed into one of the Aces' all-time leading hurlers. During her career, she put together a record of 77-48 with a 1.54 ERA and struck out 365 hitters in 857.2 innings of work. Blaylock still holds virtually all of Evansville's pitching records.
Blaylock excelled as a student-athlete both on and off the field at UE. As a junior, she was named a GTE Academic All-American, and in 1988, she was named the Midwestern Collegiate Conference Player of the Year. Evansville recognized Blaylock's success on the diamond by inducting her into the school's Hall of Fame in 1995.
After graduating from Evansville in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in accounting, Blaylock attended Southeast Missouri State University where she began her coaching career as a graduate assistant. She later received a master's degree in 1991 in business administration.
|Blaylock Year-By-Year Record|
|Total: 15 Years||541-279 (.660)||245-110 (.690)||------|
|Sunday, Apr 26|
|Softball||Terre Haute, Ind.||L, 5-1||
|Softball||Terre Haute, Ind.||W, 7-6 (8)||
|Wednesday, Apr 29|
|Softball||Charleston, Ill.||4:00 PM||Free Audio|
|Saturday, May 2|
|Softball||Carbondale, Ill.||12:00 PM||StatBroadcast|
|Softball||Carbondale, Ill.||2:00 PM||StatBroadcast|
|Sunday, May 3|
|Softball||Carbondale, Ill.||12:00 PM||StatBroadcast|
|Thursday, May 7|
|Friday, May 8|
|Saturday, May 9|
|Friday, May 15|