Urban Knights select Sami Strinz, Randy Ward to share coaching duties for softball team
Art U made the announcement on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
An accomplished tandem, Strinz and Ward bring several years of Division I coaching experience and were most recently both assistant coaches for a Saint Mary's team that captured the 2012 Pacific Coast Softball Conference Coastal Division Championship.
"I am extremely pleased to welcome Sami and Randy to the Urban Knights family," Director of Athletics Kevin Price said. "Both are experienced, battle tested coaches with a history of success. ART U Softball will benefit from their combined expertise."
Strinz joined the Saint Mary's softball staff as an assistant coach in the fall of 2011. In 2012, Strinz helped the Gaels finish the season 26-23 and stood atop the Coastal Division of the PCSC, posting a program-best 15-4 record in conference.
As the pitching coach, Strinz led Jessica Lemmon to be named the PCSC Coastal Division Pitcher of the Year after she went 7-3 in conference play with a Division-best 1.68 ERA in 13 appearances.
"Having the privilege to work for a great leader like Kevin Price was an absolute no-brainer for me" Strinz said. "It's an honor to be in the forefront of the ART U softball team especially now that we are post-season eligible. We are returning some great players who have a true hunger to excel, be the best that they can be, and to win. We are ready to make history. Now is the best time to be an Urban Knight."
As the hitting coach alongside Strinz, Ward helped the Gaels finish in the top five in the conference in almost every statistical offensive category. The Gaels also hit a school-record 38 home runs and had a program-best .289 team batting average in 2012.
"I am thankful and excited for the opportunity to lead the Urban Knight softball program to a new chapter with Sami Strinz," Ward said. "I am grateful to Kevin for seeing our vision for the program and allowing us the opportunity to implement that vision. I look forward to working with the enthusiastic athletic staff to build a championship program."
Strinz brought a multitude of experience to the SMC program after having spent four seasons (2008-11) as the head coach at the University of North Dakota. Ward joined Strinz there, serving as the Fighting Sioux associate head coach and specializing with hitters.
In their time with UND, Strinz and Ward led the Fighting Sioux to their first conference championship in program history in 2010 and helped the program put up all-time offensive numbers in runs scored, hits, home runs, stolen bases and walks.
Prior to her time at North Dakota, Strinz served as the head coach at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D., for two seasons.
After inheriting a program that had averaged five wins over the previous five seasons, Strinz engineered a two-year turnaround that saw the Tigers win a school-record 17 games in 2007.
Her first stint in the coaching world was in 2005 when she spent the season as an assistant at Louisiana Tech. Strinz served as the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator and helped the Bulldogs set school records for home runs and doubles.
Strinz also experienced success at the championship level as a softball athlete herself with Loyola Marymount. As a Lion, Strinz was a member of the first-ever PCSC Championship team and was named the conference's first PCSC Player of the Year as a junior in 2003.
She was a four-year letter-winner and three-year all-conference performer as a pitcher and designated player.
Prior to arriving at North Dakota, Ward spent the 2007 season as an assistant coach at the University of Northern Iowa where he worked specifically with the team's hitters and outfielders.
Ward also was the head softball coach at Nora Springs Rock Falls High School in Nora Springs, Iowa, where he helped the team to offensive records in home runs, batting average, runs scored, and runs batted in.
Before that, he spent three seasons as an assistant softball coach at North Iowa Arena Community College.
Strinz, a native of Keizer, Ore., earned her bachelor's degree in liberal studies with a minor in sociology from LMU in 2004.
Ward, a native of Mason City, Iowa, graduated from Northern Iowa in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in family services.