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 sixth season during the 2016 campaign.
The Billikens made Connoyer the winningest coach in SLU softball history April 28, 2015, when they defeated SIUE 7-2 at the Billiken Sports Center. Her 100th Billiken victory, recorded April 15, 2014, also came against SIUE. Connoyer finished the 2015 season with a 146-119 record as the Saint Louis mentor and a 177-149 career mark.
Connoyer directed a record-setting season in 2015. The Billikens shattered school marks for total victories (36, including 14 come-from-behind wins), winning percentage (36-18, .667), conference wins (18) and conference winning percentage (18-5, .783). The team assembled a school-record nine-game winning streak and set program standards in 10 offensive categories, many by wide margins over the previous records.
SLU achieved a program-best NCAA Division I Ratings Percentage Index standing of 94 and placed second in the Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season standings, matching the 2014 squad for the best finish in the program’s 10 seasons of A-10 membership. The Bills led the league in runs, RBIs, home runs, doubles, on-base percentage, total bases and walks. Also excelling in the classroom, the team achieved a 3.495 grade point average that ranks as the highest during Connoyer’s tenure.
Individual plaudits also reached new heights in 2015. Shortstop Alex Nickel (first team) and pitcher/designated player Brianna Lore (third team) were named National Fastpitch Coaches Association Mid-Atlantic All-Region, giving the Billikens two All-Region honorees for the first time in program history. Nickel was the first SLU player to collect first-team honors, while Lore became the first Billiken to repeat on the All-Region squad after garnering a second-team nod in 2014.
In All-Conference balloting, center fielder Lindsay Friedman’s selection to the first team, along with the inclusion of Nickel, Lore and left fielder Josie Knesel on the second team, gave Saint Louis four first- or second-team All-Conference players for the first time. Knesel and second baseman Allie Macfarlane were chosen to the A-10 All-Rookie team, giving the Billikens two All-Rookie choices in three consecutive seasons. Friedman and third baseman Elizabeth Everingham were voted to the All-Academic team. Also, SLU players picked up seven A-10 weekly awards.
Connoyer guided the 2014 Billikens to a 30-21 ledger – equaling what was then the school record for wins – and a runner-up finish at the A-10 Championship. Saint Louis registered 15 come-from-behind victories, including two in conference tournament play. 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 All-Academic squad by Friedman. Nickel and right fielder Mackenzie Peter were selected to the A-10 All-Rookie team. 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. Designated player Laura Bohning was named to the All-Conference first team, while Lore and fellow pitcher Laney Kneib were selected to the A-10 All-Rookie team.
Connoyer steered the 2011 Billikens to a 29-24 overall record and a 10-8 mark in the A-10, 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.
Connoyer’s teams also have excelled in the classroom. Her Billikens finished among the top 50 in the nation in team GPA in 2013 (37th) and 2011 (46th), and they consistently have placed among the A-10 leaders in GPA, including a first-place showing in 2011.
"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 NFCA 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.
|Alma Mater:||University of Notre Dame|