Jun 13, 2011 4:32 PM
University of Kentucky softball coach Rachel Lawson, who led the Wildcats to a school record 40-win season and its first-ever NCAA Super Regional appearance last month, has been rewarded a new five-year contract worth a total of $727,500, plus the opportunity for performance-based incentives, UK Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart announced Monday.
"We are excited that Rachel will be a part of the Wildcat family for many years to come," Barnhart said. "She has done a remarkable job in building our softball program and creating a foundation for a successful future at the University of Kentucky."
"We are thrilled that Rachel and her staff will continue to lead the UK softball program to new heights that we've never experienced before," said John Cropp, UK associate athletics director for administration. "Rachel and her staff are the hardest working group that I've ever been around. Even more importantly, they care about young people and their development. It is always a total team approach in everything they do."
During Lawson's tenure, UK has improved drastically in every phase of the game. The 2011 Kentucky softball team finished its most successful season in school history with the program's first appearance in the NCAA Super Regionals. Kentucky performed admirably in front of more than 1,700 fans at the UK Softball Complex there to share in the excitement of another budding program in the Commonwealth.
The Wildcats' run included its first 40-win season in school history, appearing in the national rankings for a school-record 14 consecutive weeks, defeating 12 top-25 ranked teams, capturing a school-best five Southeastern Conference series, becoming one of just 31 teams in the nation to advance to the NCAA Tournament in three straight seasons and shattering 12 single-season records.
"I want to thank UK and specifically Mitch Barnhart for providing me the opportunity to extend my career in a profession that I love at an incredible university," Lawson said. "I also want to thank my coaching staff, my athletes and all of the other staff members that work daily with softball and who have created a winning mindset within the softball program.
"Finally, I would like to thank all the men and women who work at UK and all the fans who came out and have supported the Wildcats in many ways throughout our program's tenure and during Super Regionals. To see the massive amount of work that was put in to make the Supers a reality in Lexington and then to witness the fan support over the weekend was a highlight in my athletes' lives and a moment I will never forget. I truly believe it is the people who create a winning tradition and because of this, I feel good about the future of the University of Kentucky softball program."