|Alma Mater:||University of Notre Dame|
Christy Connoyer, who was named the 10th head coach of the Saint Louis University softball program Aug. 6, 2010, leads the Billikens for a 10th season during the 2020 campaign.
Connoyer finished the 2019 season with a 243-232 record as the Saint Louis mentor and a 274-262 career mark. She tallied her 200th win as the Billikens’ head coach March 3, 2018, when SLU defeated Chattanooga 5-2 at the Ole Miss Classic in Oxford, Mississippi.
The Billikens made Connoyer the winningest coach in SLU softball history April 28, 2015, when they topped SIUE 7-2 at home.
Saint Louis played in its seventh consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship in 2019, making the Billikens one of only three teams to qualify for the league tournament in each of the past seven seasons.
Also in 2019, program history was made twice when A-10 postseason accolades were handed out. SLU placed three players on the All-Conference first team for the first time when Sadie Wise, Kat Lane and Gabbie Kowalik were named to the top unit; it also marked a seventh straight season and ninth time in 10 years that Saint Louis had at least one first-team selection. In addition, Kowalik became the first Billiken to garner conference Rookie of the Year honors.
Wise earned 2019 A-10 All-Academic plaudits, giving SLU at least one student-athlete on the prestigious 10-member team for a sixth consecutive season.
Wise enjoyed a phenomenal rookie campaign in 2018. She became the first SLU freshman to make the A-10 All-Conference first team, as well as the first Billiken freshman to collect All-Region laurels when she was chosen to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Mid-Atlantic third team. Wise also was a top-25 candidate for the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I Freshman of the Year Award.
Saint Louis tied for the most A-10 All-Rookie selections as Wise was joined on the team by Lane and Alyssa Chavez. SLU placed three players on the All-Rookie squad for the first time in program history. Allie Macfarlane was selected to the A-10 All-Academic team for a second time.
Alex Nickel earned a first-team All-Conference nod and was a third-team All-Region choice in 2017. Nickel and Macfarlane were selected to the All-Academic team, giving Saint Louis two student-athletes on the list for an eighth time.
In 2016, Saint Louis placed four players on the All-Conference squad for a second consecutive season. First-team choice Brianna Lore was joined by second-team honorees Macfarlane, Elizabeth Everingham and Mackenzie Peter. Peter added third-team All-Region accolades.
In the classroom, an already high level of achievement rose to greater heights in the 2015-16 academic year. The Billikens ranked third among NCAA Division I softball programs with a 3.641 grade point average, the highest during Connoyer’s tenure. Everingham and Peter were selected to the A-10 All-Academic team.
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 A-10 regular-season standings, matching the 2014 squad for the best finish in the program’s 14 seasons of A-10 membership. The Bills led the league in runs, RBI, home runs, doubles, on-base percentage, total bases and walks. Also excelling in the classroom, the team achieved a 3.495 GPA to tie for 13th in the nation among NCAA Division I programs.
Individual plaudits also reached new heights in 2015. Nickel (first team) and Lore (third team) were named 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, Lindsay Friedman’s selection to the first team, along with the inclusion of Nickel, Lore and Josie Knesel on the second team, gave Saint Louis four first- or second-team All-Conference players for the first time. Knesel and Macfarlane were chosen to the A-10 All-Rookie team, giving the Billikens two All-Rookie choices in three consecutive seasons. Friedman and 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 All-Academic squad by Friedman. Nickel and 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. Laura Bohning was named to the All-Conference first team, while Lore and 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. 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. In addition to their third-place showing in 2016, her Billikens finished among the top 50 in the nation in GPA in 2015 (tie-13th), 2013 (37th) and 2011 (46th). SLU consistently has placed among the A-10 leaders in GPA, including first-place showings in 2015 and 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, Illinois, 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 fundraiser 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 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 athletics 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. In addition, Connoyer was on a USAAI staff that coached an American squad in the Netherlands in 2018 and 2019.
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, Louisiana. 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.
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.