Salukis post top-10 team GPA nationally for 11th time in last 15 years
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
MVC Tournament, May 13, 2016, vs. Missouri State and Wichita State
SIU vs. UNI; April 30-May 1, 2016
SIU vs. Evansville; April 19, 2016
March 25-26, 2016
Photos from the Coach B Classic; March 5-6, 2016
Updated May 14, 2015
Kerri Blaylock has won 595 games in 17 seasons as the head coach of the Saluki Softball program. She has the best winning percentage of all 500-win coaches in MVC history, and she is the only coach in conference history to lead a program to five-consecutive NCAA Tournaments.
Including her nine seasons as an assistant under her mentor, Saluki Hall-of-Famer Kay Brechtelsbauer, and her 17 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 three MVC titles with five NCAA Tournament appearances while producing 81 All-Conference selections. She holds a .677 winning percentage in MVC games (275-131) and has been a member of five MVC Coaching Staffs of the Year. She is the fastest coach in MVC history to reach 500 wins overall and 250 MVC wins.
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 the only school in the MVC to earn the distinction, and Blaylock's programs have earned the honor six times.
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 has finished in the top half the MVC in each of the 16 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 as a head coach 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 earned at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament in both 2006 and 2007, becoming the only program in MVC history to reach five-consecutive NCAA Tournaments. 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 74 games between 2013-15, including a third-place finish in the MVC in the 2014 campaign. Blaylock's 2016 team again led the MVC in ERA and won 33 games, including 15 in league play. The 2016 team swept Illinois State for the first time since 2005 and won the series over Northern Iowa for the first time since 2010.
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: 17 Years||595-324-1 (.647)||275-131 (.677)||------|