TULSA —Crissy Strimple, who was inducted into the Northeastern A&M Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014, was named head softball coach at the University of Tulsa Wednesday, June 12.
“It is an honor to accept the position of head softball coach at The University of Tulsa,” Strimple said in a press release. “Sincere and heartfelt thanks to Dr. Gragg (TU athletic director Derek Gragg) and Crista Troester for trusting me with this opportunity. Coaching the Golden Hurricane has been a dream of mine since I played here in 2003. The university and City of Tulsa hold a special place in my heart and to represent both is an honor.”
While playing for Eric Iverson at NEO, Strimple was a two-time All-Region II selection (2000-2001) and earned NJCAA All-American honors as a sophomore.
She had a .432 career batting average for the Lady Norse.
“It's a fun day for a lot of reasons: it’s a fun day for her, it's a fun day for Tulsa and it’s a fun day for NEO,” Iverson said. “I have always compared everybody that has come through our program competitively to her.”
Strimple has spent 14 years at TU as a player and coach. She’s been associate head coach the last eight under outgoing head coach John Bargfeldt.
TU had 64 all-conference, 29 NFCA All-Region and six National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America honorees during her time on the bench.
The program amassed 464 wins, five regular-season conference titles, six conference tournament crowns and 10 NCAA Regional appearances.
“As a 12-year assistant who has helped build the TU softball program both as a coach and student-athlete, Crissy is the ideal person to take over as head coach,” Gragg said. “She has demonstrated an outstanding ability in all aspects needed to be a successful head coach at the highest level of collegiate softball. Crissy’s attributes in coaching and recruiting, as well as her loyalty, work ethic and commitment to her alma mater make her the perfect fit in continuing the success of Tulsa softball.”
Strimple worked with TU infielders and served as the recruiting coordinator in her role as associate head coach.
She was instrumental in the development of Jill Barrett, who was a three-time all-conference selection and closed her career in 2014 as a second-team NFCA All-American and Conference USA Player of the Year.
“Crissy has been a loyal and great assistant for me for a number of years and I am very excited that she is getting this well-deserved opportunity,” Bargfeldt said in the release. “One of the things that I've noticed around the country is how many people are being hired for head coaching positions who have much less experience than what Crissy possesses. I'm also happy that the student-athletes will have continuity with Crissy at the helm. I always thought of Crissy as the heir-apparent with the way she has been so loyal to the university and to me.
“I am confident that she will continue to give the program nothing but her utmost effort and dedication. I wish her nothing but the very best in her new role.”
Strimple has coached an infield defense that contributed to two record-setting seasons in fielding percentage and one in fewest errors.
The 2010 squad committed a program-low 36 errors, and the 2010 and 2011 teams fielded at a .975 clip, matching the 2005 team for best fielding percentage.
The 2017 team nearly matched that mark with a .974 fielding percentage.
Since 2008, the TU offense has set eight separate single-season school records, including batting average, hits, runs, RBI, home runs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
After moving on from NEO, Strimple played third base for the Golden Hurricane in 2002 and 2003.
Strimple led the team with 10 home runs as a senior and she was the team’s Offensive Player of the Year in both her junior and senior seasons.
Defensively, she holds the top two single-season assist totals in the Tulsa record book.
Strimple returned to Tulsa after serving as an assistant coach at Central Arkansas in 2007. While at UCA, Strimple was responsible for the coordination of recruiting, as well as supervising the academic progress of the team. She also worked heavily with the defensive schemes for the Bears.
Prior to her stint at UCA, she served as the director of softball operations at Arkansas for two seasons (2005-06).
Strimple also was a team manager where her duties included travel, equipment, field maintenance and general management of the softball office.
Strimple graduated from Tulsa in 2003 with a degree in exercise sports science before she earned her master's degree in education with emphasis on sports administration from Arkansas in 2006.