TAMPA – University of South Florida softball coach Ken Eriksen was honored by the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday for his outstanding contributions to the Tampa Bay community and the game of softball.
“I am greatly humbled by this award. If it wasn’t for the support of the county, early on in my career, to create the facilities to play by Ed Radice and his group which they put together for these young women to participate on, clearing the way with Title IX that was developed, then I wouldn’t be here today,” Eriksen said.
Eriksen, who took over the Bulls’ head coaching job in 1997, has been involved with USF since 1979 when he came to the University as a student-athlete with the Bulls’ baseball team.
After his days on the baseball team, Eriksen played professional softball before returning to his Alma Mater as an assistant coach. As head coach of the Bulls, Eriksen has led teams to twelve winning seasons, taken eight teams to the NCAA Regionals, won the 2006 Regional Championship, made a 2006 Super Regional appearance and won three conference titles, the latest being the 2008 BIG EAST Regular Season Championship.
Along with his contributions to USF, Eriksen has also been heavily involved with the United States Softball Team, a team he helped lead to an Olympic Gold Medal in 2004 and after a brief hiatus rejoined the National Team in 2009 with primary responsibilities of pitching, catching and scouting for Team USA, helping the team to win the 2009 Canada Cup.
In February, Eriksen was appointed the head coaching job of the USA Softball team, the most prestigious coach position in all of softball. The Bulls’ skipper will oversee the USA team in the 2011 Pan American Games and the 2012 International Softball Federation World Championships.
Eriksen continues to be a role model for his student-athletes and for those he has met in the community.
Because of this, the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners chose to honor the former student-athlete, USF Alumni, Hillsborough County resident, teacher, coach and leader.