The Ferris State University softball program will embark on a new era this coming year as the Bulldogs appointed Kristin Janes as the program's 12th head coach on July 6, 2017.
A former NCAA Division II Student-Athlete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), Janes has spent the past five seasons as the head coach at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College where she has turned around a program that went winless (0-42) the season before her arrival to a well-respective and competitive squad in the highly-competitive Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, which is regarded as one of the top junior college conferences in the country.
Janes will begin her duties at Ferris State in 2017-18 and takes over a Bulldog program that has made eight trips to the NCAA Tournament in school history and won 24 games or more 11 times in the past 14 years.
"Coach Janes was extremely impressive throughout the entire search and evaluation process," said FSU Athletics Director Perk Weisenburger. "She is going to be an excellent fit for Ferris State University and our softball program. We had specific qualities that we were looking for in our next head coach and as we got to know Kristin and learned more about her as a person, an educator and as a coach the more comfortable we became with the fit.
"She has the passion, integrity and work ethic that we desire and given her experiences at every level throughout her time in softball as a D2 player, a student assistant coach, an assistant coach and as a head coach … we could not be more excited about Kristin becoming our new Head Softball Coach," he added. "I would also like to recognize and thank Sara Higley, our Compliance Coordinator/SWA (Senior Woman Administrator), for her role and insight throughout this process. Sara is an extremely valuable member of our administrative team and I rely on her a great deal and she was very instrumental in this search."
In her five seasons at Fort Scott, Janes has helped restore the Lady Greyhounds' softball tradition. Fort Scott put together its fourth-best season in school history in 2015 and produced the second-best offensive team in school history in 2016 while climbing six spots in the Region 6 standings. The Hounds tripled their win total in 2015 and then achieved several milestones this past year in 2017, including capturing the program's fifth 20+ win season ever along with notching the school's first postseason victory in more than eight years. Her final team at FSCC featured the most successful offensive output in school annals.
While at Fort Scott, Janes has coached three KJCCC All-Conference Award recipients, 17 All-Region Award winners, eight KJCCC Players of the Week and 70% of the single-season and career top 10 records at FSCC have been broken during her tenure.
"I'm extremely excited to be taking over the Ferris State softball program," Janes said. "From having played in the GLIAC, I know it is an incredible conference and highly-competitive so to be chosen to represent Ferris State is quite an honor. The school is a wonderful institution with a tremendous and successful athletics department. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to lead this program."
During her five-year tenure on the JUCO level, Janes has also guided her team to high success in the classroom. The Lady Hounds earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Top 10 Team GPA honors in 2013 and 2014 and have produced 39 KJCCC All-Academic Team members along with 28 NFCA All-Academic Team members and 14 NJCAA Academic Award recipients in her tenure. Her squad increased its overall GPA from 3.29 to 3.63 in five years and also compiled more than 2,000 hours of community service. Additionally, she's been a proven fundraiser generating support for her program's needs.
"Kristin is a great fit for Ferris State University and we believe she's the right person to stabilize this program and develop it into a consistent postseason contender for years to come," said Higley. "Her past experience as a student-athlete in the GLIAC combined with her experience as a head coach and educator make her an outstanding and qualified person to lead Bulldog Softball into the future."
Prior to her tenure as a head coach, Janes served from 2010 to 2012 as the assistant coach at NAIA member Ottawa University (Kan.). She specialized in outfield and hitting instruction while assisting with virtually all aspects of team operation such as skill evaluation, recruiting, academic success, scheduling, fundraising, strength & conditioning and more. Janes helped the Lady Braves win a conference regular-season championship in 2011 and mentored 17 all-conference performers.
Before Ottawa University, Janes began her coaching career as the assistant coach for the Central Ohio Lady Rebels Fastpitch softball club and the Mercyhurst Preparatory (Pa.) High School softball team. As an assistant coach, her primary focus was outfield, middle infield and hitting instruction. Janes also served as an assistant coach for Gannon University's men's wrestling team in 2009, producing a conference champion, six national qualifiers and five All-Americans. Additionally, she's worked as an adjunct instructor in Fort Scott's physical education department and a gameday administrator.
As a collegiate softball player at former GLIAC member Gannon University in Erie, Pa., Janes served as an outfielder and designated player. She led the team in grand slams her sophomore year and batted a career-high .390 during her senior season while also leading the squad in doubles. The Golden Knights won the GLIAC Championship in 2007 and advanced to the national tournament.
Janes earned her Bachelor's Degree in Sports and Exercise Science with a minor in coaching in 2010. She also graduated from Canisius College (N.Y.) with a Master's degree in Sports Administration. Her husband, Ian, has served as an assistant baseball coach at Fort Scott.