OSU Softball Coaching Staff

Last Game

Texas
Loss 5-6
Jun 6, 2022
Women's College World Series
Kenny Gajewski

Kenny Gajewski

Head Coach

(Provided by Oklahoma State Athletics Media Relations)
With Kenny Gajewski as head coach, Oklahoma State appeared in the 2019 and 2021 Women’s College World Series and has established itself as a national power. Gajewski (pronounced ‘GUY-eh-ski’) has guided the Cowgirls to NCAA postseason play every year since his arrival.

How has he done it?

The way he tells it, the Cowgirl Softball program is one that belongs to the players, so his decisions are made with that in mind.

Just one of the real-world examples of how he applies this approach came in 2021. The team was ranked in the top 10 nationally for much of the season but hit a patch in May that saw it lose three of five games. Sensing that his team needed a refresh, he ditched the routine and took the entire squad to an off-site retreat in order to step away and ease stress at a time when other programs were grinding as hard as ever. Immediately after returning from the retreat, the energized Cowgirls swept the NCAA Stillwater Regional and took two of three from No. 12 Texas to win the Stillwater Super Regional and advance to the WCWS. Gajewski put the needs of his players first, which in turn enabled them to perform at their highest level.

That’s just one example of Gajewski creating an environment that enables players to perform at their best, but there are more - take also into account what he has done with transfers. In just the past three seasons, Samantha Show (Texas A&M), Carrie Eberle (Virginia Tech), Alysen Febrey (Georgia) and Hayley Busby (Virginia) earned All-America status for the first time in their respective careers after transferring to OSU. Each of them came in with talent and experience and each of them took their performance to an entirely new level once they got to Stillwater, thanks in part to a welcoming environment and a program rooted in authentically putting players first.

For further evidence of Cowgirl players feeling comfortable and performing at their highest level, one needs to look no further than the school record book. The collective marker of back-to-back WCWS appearances in 2019 and 2021 speaks for itself, but there is so much more. The Gajewski era (2016-present) has yielded single-season team records for runs scored, home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage, on base percentage and more. In that same time frame, OSU has produced 11 All-Americans, 23 All-Region honorees, two Big 12 Players of the Year, one Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and 27 All-Big 12 performers. In 2021, eight Cowgirls were named to the NFCA All-Region team and seven earned All-Big 12 recognition. At 15-3, OSU posted its best record of the Big 12 era.

In addition to success on the field Gajewski’s players are also excelling in the classroom, and it’s not just a few top performers - the academic success permeates throughout the roster. In 2021, OSU set a program record with 13 first team Academic All-Big 12 honorees, breaking the existing mark of 11 that was initially set under Gajewski in 2017 and then matched in 2020. During Gajewski’s tenure as head coach, 68 Cowgirls have earned Academic All-Big 12 recognition – the most of any team in the conference in that stretch. OSU was the only Big 12 softball team with more than one representative on the 2021 CoSIDA Academic All-America team and during Gajewski’s time as head coach, OSU has produced five CoSIDA Academic All-America and six Academic All-District honors.

It has been a steady climb for Oklahoma State softball under Gajewski. He inherited a program that went 3-13 in Big 12 play the year prior to his arrival. Each year since then, the Cowgirls have improved. In his first year (2016), the Cowgirls were 6-11 in conference, then made the jump to 12-6 and a third place finish in 2017. While OSU had an identical 12-6 record in 2018, it improved to a tie for second place in the conference standings. The Cowgirls of 2019 went 13-5 in the league for sole possession of second place. The COVID pandemic brought a sudden stop to the 2020 season before Big 12 play even began, but in 2021, OSU went 15-3 in conference to finish second.

Twice, Gajewski and his staff have been recognized by the NFCA, as Oklahoma State was named the Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year after both the 2017 and 2019 seasons. The 2017 season was highlighted by the program’s first top-three finish in the Big 12 since 2010 and a road shutout of No. 1 Florida during the NCAA Gainesville Regional. Meanwhile, the 2019 team picked up 11 victories over top-15 opponents, played in the Women’s College World Series and finished No. 6 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll, marking the school’s highest standing in the national polls since 1998.

Before coming to Oklahoma State, Gajewski coached alongside Tim Walton at Florida, where the Gators won back-to-back national championships in his final two years. In 2015, Florida posted top-25 NCAA marks in earned run average (1.63), scoring (6.55 runs per game) and on-base percentage (.438), in addition to leading the nation in the fielding percentage category. The Gators’ 60-7 record led the country in win-loss percentage and marked the second-highest win total in school history.

Prior to joining the Gators, Gajewski spent the 2011-12 season as the director of baseball operations at Tennessee. With the Volunteers, he was in charge of managing UT’s camps, overseeing student managers and handling the day-to-day operations of the baseball program. Gajewski’s roots trace back to the University of Oklahoma, however, as he played for the Sooner baseball squad in 1994 that won a national championship and earned him his first coaching stint as a graduate assistant the following season.

Gajewski then served as a volunteer assistant at Kansas State in 1996 before returning to Norman, where he would begin a 10-year stretch as the Sooners’ turf and maintenance director. In 2001, the field at OU’s L. Dale Mitchell Park was named the Beam Clay Baseball Diamond of the Year. That same season, the OU Softball Complex was presented the Field Maintenance Award by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and TURFACE sports field products.

From 2007 onward, Gajewski was the owner and operator of three Norman, Okla.-based turf businesses - Champions Athletic Turf (athletic field renovation), Sooner Curb and Border (decorative concrete) and Ameriturf MidSouth (synthetic turf), but has since moved on from the projects to fully invest in his coaching career.

A native of Los Alamitos, Calif., Gajewski is married to Rachel, a Texas A&M softball alumnna, and has two children, Preston and Logan Gajewski.

John Bargfeldt

John Bargfeldt

Assistant Coach

Jeff Cottrill

Jeff Cottrill

Assistant Coach

Vanessa Shippy-Fletcher

Vanessa Shippy-Fletcher

Volunteer Assistant

Stacie Pestrak

Stacie Pestrak

Dir. Ops and Player Development

Chance Marek

Chance Marek

Strength and Conditioning Asst.

Alexis Kahnt

Alexis Kahnt

Athletic Trainer

 
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