HAYS, Kansas — Fort Hays State athletic director Curtis Hammake named Erin Kinberger the new head softball coach of the Tigers on Monday, June 20. Kinberger takes over for Julie LeMaire, who resigned to take the head coaching position at Emporia State University.
Kinberger (formerly Brunt) takes over the reigns of the program after spending the last three seasons as the assistant coach of the Tigers. She helped lead the team to three consecutive 30-win seasons, including a runner-up finish at the MIAA Tournament in 2011. As an assistant, Kinberger was responsible for helping with all areas of the Lady Tigers softball program, focusing mainly on the development of catchers and infielders. Under her tutelage, Tiger catcher Malinee Powell became an All-MIAA and All-South Central Region First Team selection as a sophomore in 2011. Off the field, her duties included assisting in team management, recruiting, scouting, fundraising, and alumni relations.
Kinberger came to Fort Hays State from Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Florida, where she spent one year as a graduate assistant following a solid four-year playing career as the Lions' catcher. Her graduate assistant duties included recruiting, scouting, tutoring student-athletes, organizing community service, and field maintenance. During her year as a graduate assistant, the Lions finished 37-15, tying for second place in the Sunshine State Conference. They finished third in the South Region rankings, and 19th in the NFCA Division II poll.
As a player, Kinberger was part of two teams that qualified for the NCAA Division II South Regional, earning all-conference honors all four years and Second Team All-South Region in 2006. In addition to those honors, she was the recipient of the 2006 Women in Sports Sodexho Scholarship; 2007 Sunshine State Conference Female Sportsmanship Award; 2005-2006 SLU Female Scholar Athlete of the Year Award; 2005-2006 SLU Community Award; 2004-2005 SLU Personal Development Award; and was a four time NFCA All-American Scholar Athlete. Kinberger was a career .291 hitter; finishing third all-time in Lions softball history with career home runs (12) and fourth all-time in career doubles (40).
Kinberger was the Head Coach in the summer of 2007 for Team FLA 16U and moved up to Head Coach of Team FLA 18U Gold in the summer of 2008.
"Fort Hays State is a great place, and I appreciate Curtis Hammake and Dr. Hammond believing in me and giving me the opportunity to lead the Tiger Softball program," Kinberger said. "I'm ready to get to work, and help Tiger Softball reach new heights. It's my goal to build a program the Tiger fans and university can be proud of and cheer on for many years to come."
A native of Clearwater, Fla., Kinberger earned a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Saint Leo University in 2007 and earned a master's degree in Health and Human Performance from Fort Hays State University in 2009.