PHOTO GALLERY FOLLOWS BIO
Christy Connoyer, who was named the 10th head coach of the Saint Louis University softball program Aug. 6, 2010, will lead the Billikens for a fifth season during the 2015 campaign.
The Billikens gave Connoyer her 100th SLU victory April 15, 2014, when they defeated SIUE 2-1 in eight innings. She finished the 2014 season with 110 wins as the Saint Louis mentor, placing her second in program history, and 141 career victories.
Connoyer guided the 2014 Billikens to a school-record-tying 30 wins (30-21) and runner-up finishes in the Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season standings and the A-10 Championship. The regular-season showing was the best in the program’s nine seasons of A-10 membership, as was SLU’s .706 winning percentage (12-5) in conference games.
The Bills’ 28 regular-season wins, including a program-record eight-game winning streak, fell just one shy of the program standard. Saint Louis registered 15 come-from-behind victories, including two in the A-10 Championship.
Also last season, the Billikens set program records in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, RBIs, walks and sacrifice flies. Compared to 2013, they boosted their batting average by 28 points and their run production by .41 per game while striking out 72 fewer times.
Individual accolades were plentiful as well. Brianna Lore was named A-10 co-Pitcher of the Year – the first such honor for a Billiken hurler – and was joined on the All-Conference first team and the Academic All-Conference squad by center fielder Lindsay Friedman. Shortstop Alex Nickel and right fielder Mackenzie Peter were selected to the A-10 All-Rookie team, giving SLU two players on that unit for a second consecutive year. In addition, Billiken players collected nine A-10 weekly awards, earning recognition at least twice in all three categories (Player, Pitcher, Rookie).
Connoyer led the 2013 Billikens to a 28-23 overall record and a 13-9 A-10 ledger. Saint Louis saved its best for the stretch run, winning 11 of its last 15 league games to earn a spot in the A-10 Championship for the first time since 2010.
Under Connoyer’s leadership, SLU improved significantly in several areas compared to the 2012 season. The Billikens posted a .549 overall winning percentage and a .591 success rate in A-10 games, up from .411 and .450, respectively, and achieved a program-best NCAA Division I Ratings Percentage Index of 126.
Statistically, the Bills added 17 points to their batting average, 41 points to their on-base percentage, 11 points to their fielding percentage and 46 points to their slugging percentage, in addition to shaving one-half run off their ERA. Saint Louis increased its scoring average by 1.47 runs per game, allowed 13 fewer home runs and 61 fewer walks, and turned nine more double plays.
Designated player Laura Bohning was named to the 2013 All-Conference first team, while Lore and fellow pitcher Laney Kneib were selected to the A-10 All-Rookie team.
Connoyer guided the 2011 Billikens to a 29-24 overall record – just one victory shy of tying the school record – and a 10-8 mark in the A-10 in her first season at the helm, becoming the first coach in program history to register a winning record in her first season. Saint Louis achieved a 129 RPI, a jump of 22 places from the 2010 team's rating. The Billikens tied the school mark for shutouts with 13, and their .987 fielding percentage in A-10 games led the league.
"We are excited to have Christy Connoyer as our head softball coach," SLU director of athletics Chris May said at the time of Connoyer’s hiring. "Christy is from our region, she's familiar with the St. Louis-area softball scene, and she brings a wealth of Division I coaching experience to the position. We believe she will be able to recruit the caliber of student-athletes who will allow SLU to contend for Atlantic 10 Conference titles. Christy knows what it takes to win, having been part of successful programs as a player and as a coach. Her commitment to academic excellence and passion for competitive success match our goals at Saint Louis University."
"Being the head coach at Saint Louis University is a fantastic opportunity," Connoyer said. "There is a tradition of excellence in academics and athletics at SLU, and I am excited for the opportunity to build on that tradition. I'm from the area and still have family close, so I'm thrilled to return to such a great city. I am passionate about softball and academics, and there is an amazing combination of the two at Saint Louis."
A native of Bethalto, Ill., Connoyer arrived at SLU following five seasons as associate head coach at Southern Illinois, where she contributed to a highly successful program while working primarily with the Salukis' hitting and defense. During her tenure, SIU consistently was ranked among the top teams in the Missouri Valley Conference in several statistical categories. Connoyer also coordinated travel, camps and the team's annual fund-raiser in addition to scheduling umpires and serving as the team's community service liaison.
SIU made two NCAA Tournament appearances (2006 and 2007) during Connoyer's tenure and earned the highest National Fastpitch Coaches Association ranking in school history (No. 18 in 2008 and 2009). Academically, Southern Illinois had the second-highest team GPA in the nation in 2007. In 2010, Connoyer and her colleagues received MVC Coaching Staff of the Year accolades after leading the Salukis to the league's regular-season title.
In Connoyer's first season at SIU, the Salukis led the conference with a .283 team batting average and ranked 15th nationally in triples per game. During her second campaign, the squad led the MVC and ranked fifth in the nation in fielding percentage (.976). SIU finished with the league's second-highest batting average in 2008 and 2009.
Prior to her stint at Southern Illinois, Connoyer spent one season as head coach at the University of Tulsa. She guided the Golden Hurricane to a 31-30 mark in 2005, becoming the first coach in program history to compile a winning record in her first season. Two of those wins were against in-state rival and perennial power No. 5 Oklahoma, the highest-ranked opponent Tulsa had ever defeated.
Connoyer's first foray into coaching was at Purdue, where she spent eight seasons as an assistant coach. She assisted with hitting and defensive instruction, coordination of team travel and scheduling umpires in addition to on- and off-campus recruiting. Connoyer also served as the team's liaison to academic services and athletic media relations.
Connoyer also has international coaching experience on her resumé. She served as an assistant coach for the USA Athletes International team that won the championship of the 2011 Softball Australia International Challenge Series in Sydney. The tournament was played at the Sydney Olympic Softball Centre, site of the 2000 Olympic softball competition.
Before making the move to Purdue, Connoyer was the head varsity volleyball coach and assistant varsity basketball and softball coach at Loyola College Preparatory in Shreveport, La. She led the new volleyball program to a pair of state tournament appearances and helped the softball team win the 1996 Class 2A state championship.
During her playing career, Connoyer was a four-time first-team All-Conference selection at the University of Notre Dame. She received team MVP honors in 1993 and was voted team captain in 1994. Connoyer's playing career culminated with an Olympic Level II tryout in 1995. She graduated from Notre Dame in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in government and international studies. Connoyer went on to earn a master's degree in teaching from the University of Portland (Notre Dame, Ind.) in 1996.