UNT announced this week that it has hired Tracey Kee as its new softball coach.
The move was a little more interesting than your typical coaching hire out of the Big Three (football, basketball, women’s basketball) because of the nature of Kee’s departure from East Carolina.
I won’t go into the full details again, but Kee was let go by a school she spent 26 years at as a head coach, assistant coach and player. The reasons why she was let go depend on which story one believes in what became a messy situation.
Kee will get a second chance at UNT, which on the surface appears to be taking a bit of a risk in this situation.
I don’t think the risk is very large, while the potential payoff could be huge.
Kee was named the Coach of the Year in C-USA three times and took her team to the NCAA tournament in three of her last five seasons at the school. She has a 684-362 career record and an impressive resume from her time at ECU.
If someone stays 26 years in any job, especially in college coaching, there is a pretty good chance he or she is going to run into some kind of issue along the way. The fact Kee was at ECU for 16 seasons as the head coach says a lot about her as a person and a coach.
I talked to Kee for a couple of minutes on the phone. She seemed grateful for the opportunity she is getting at UNT.
UNT’s program struggled for years before improving under T.J. Hubbard, who left after the season under somewhat odd circumstances. Hubbard left to spend more time with his family after posting a winning record in three of his last four seasons and evening his career record at 161-161-1. He landed at Louisiana-Lafayette as an assistant coach a short time later.
By UNT standards — and especially UNT softball standards — compiling a .500 career record makes him wildly successful. UNT’s first two coaches combined to go 75-158 in four seasons.
The question now is if Kee will be able to move the program forward while recruiting in a new state and a new region. Texas is full of talented players in softball — and pretty much every other sport played on the college level.
UNT will just have to wait and see how Kee adjusts.
Considering the success she enjoyed at ECU, chances are Kee will do just fine at UNT.
And while we are at it, here’s an update for our “Get Your Rear on the Record” contest to pick UNT’s record. E-mail your picks to email@example.com
8-4 — Brandon Daniels, Ronald Parrish (RBP79)
7-5 — Andrew Morris, Christopher Walker, JRock, Greg Wagner, Gonzalo Maturino, Northeast Mean Green, James Stinson
7-6 — Rick Herold, Jonathan Dennis, Andrew J. Hinojosa (UNT Satchmo), Chris Van Cleave (UNT_rocket09), Henry Haskins
6-6 — Harry, Tom Crothers (Eagle MBA), Travis Scott, Shoss, bstnsportsfan3, adman, MeanGreenMatt, Josh Martin, mgfan (Zachary Hallak), NCMeanGreen, Rex Winn (Greenrex), Thomas Van Dieter (Eppie 96), BobFam, Keith Mazy (OXatUNT), Kellen Jemeyson, Scott Robertson (Hunter Green), James Monroe (JKvs.Himself)
6-7 — Eagle83, Van
5-8 — Brandon Cooper (UNT advances to C-USA title game on a tiebreaker and falls)
5-7 — Brett Vito, Rick Ashwander (Scratch1976), GreenBat, Greendylan, Thor, Travis Miller, Jim Hull, Allen Kriesman (Akriesman), Got5onit, Devin Axtman (An Aquarrian), Jared Morris, Eagle in Omaha, Cody Valle, Will Server
4-8 — UNT Flyer (Derrick Murray), Bryan Graves (UNTGuy5), Marc Hernandez, Adam Rosenfield, Lynn Ramsey
3-9 — 97and03, filmerj, Rick Smith (GGRN-WHT)