AZUSA, Calif. – Former Golden State Athletic Conference standout Lori Kwiatkowski has been named head softball coach at Azusa Pacific as announced today by Cougar Director of Athletics Bill Odell.
Kwiatkowski (pronounced "kwit-cow-ski")comes to Azusa Pacific after spending the past 3 seasons as an assistant softball and women’s basketball coach at NCAA Division III member Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham in Madison, N.J. She becomes Azusa Pacific’s fifth softball coach in the program’s 20-year history, replacing former NAIA Coach of the Year and the Cougars’ all-time winningest coach Sharon Lehman, who resigned in June after 11 years at the helm.
"It’s late in the year to be hiring a head coach, but I think we’ve come across a jewel in Lori,” said Odell. “In the short time I’ve had to get to know her, I’ve been very impressed by her knowledge and passion for the game and her maturity. She is a great fit for Azusa Pacific."
Certainly no stranger to Azusa Pacific softball, Kwiatkowski was an All-GSAC honoree during her 4-year career at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, during which she helped the Crusaders move into the upper echelon of the GSAC and the NAIA. As a 2000 sophomore, she was a starter on the Point Loma team that narrowly lost to Azusa Pacific in the NAIA regional playoffs. The following year, she helped guide the Crusaders to a fifth-place showing at the NAIA tournament, and then as a 2002 senior she played a key role in Point Loma advancing to the NAIA national championship game. She finished her Crusader career listed among the program’s all-time top ten in hits, runs, stolen bases and RBIs.
"Lori consistently received high recommendations from the people at Point Loma whom we talked to," said Odell. "She left quite a strong and favorable impression upon them."
While at Farleigh Dickinson, Kwiatkowski was the hitting and infield coach and assisted in the recruiting. She also served as the third base coach for the Devils, who last year qualified for postseason play for the first time in 7 years. She also worked on campus in graduate and academic advising programs.
"I’m very excited that God led me to Azusa Pacific,” said Kwiatkowski. “To work in an athletic program with such a great tradition is an incredible opportunity for me. I’m not worried about coming in late. Azusa Pacific has always had fine athletes and has always played well in softball. I’m just excited that I get to be a part of continuing the great tradition."
Kwiatkowski, who graduated from Point Loma Nazarene in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, has completed her course work for a master’s degree in clinical counseling psychology and will teach in Azusa Pacific’s physical education department.