Head Coach Tripp MacKay
With now two seasons at Kennesaw State, Tripp MacKay was named the sixth softball head coach in program history on June 29, 2018.
He led KSU to a historic start before the 2020 season was shortened by the NCAA due to COVID-19. The Owls raced out to a 21-4 record before ASUN Conference play, highlighted by wins at a Top-25 Auburn squad, Iowa State, Penn State, and a 13-1 home record.
The Owls dominated at the plate and in the circle. The team’s .350 average ranked seventh nationally. The Owls were sixth in the country with 47 doubles, and eighth with 12 triples. KSU carried a .419 on-base percentage that was 14th best in the country, and ranked 18th with an average of 6.64 runs per-game.
Meanwhile, KSU was top-50 with five shutouts, a 1.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and 63rd with a 2.65 ERA. The Owls paced the ASUN with a .964 fielding percentage.
Individually, three times an Owl earned ASUN Player of the Week honors with Katie Greep claiming a pair and freshman Cheyanne Sales earning the season’s first.
Seven Owls hit above .324, including four above the .400 mark. Brea Dickey was sixth in the NCAA with 49 hits, and eighth with four triples. Freshman Melanie Bennett was off to a heralded start to her career with a 1.85 ERA, 8-2 record, and two saves with seven complete games.
The Owls suffered just one loss in the Troy Invitational, I-75 Challenge, and Colorado State Classic. They swept the Phyllis Rafter and Dr. Bobbie Bailey Memorial Tournaments. The victory at Auburn was the first home-opening loss in Tiger history. KSU also downed NCAA Tournament regulars Colorado State, Southeast Missouri State and Eastern Illinois.
In his first year at KSU, he led the Owls to a 26-29 overall record while finishing fifth in the ASUN with a 10-11 league record.
A powerhouse at the plate, the Owls finished the 2019 season ranked in the ASUN's top-3 for slugging percentage (2nd), on-base percentage (2nd), doubles (2nd), home runs (T-1st), RBIs (3rd) and runs scored (3rd).
Under MacKay, the Owls had two Second Team All-ASUN honorees in Kira Czyrklis and Maddie Roth and two all-freshman team selections in Christen Florence and Katie Greep. The Owls succeeded in the classroom as well with Roth and Jessie Mullen earning ASUN All-Academic accolades while Brea Dickey was named a Google Cloud Academic All-America Third Team selection, the second such honor in program history.
Before joining KSU, MacKay spent two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Texas, helping the Longhorns to a 66-52 (.559) record and two NCAA postseason appearances while playing in the Big 12.
Charged with overseeing all aspects of the Texas offense, MacKay mentored freshman second baseman Janae Jefferson to second team NFCA All-America and NFCA All-Central Region honors in 2018. Jefferson was also a top 10 finalist for the Schutt Sports/NFCA National Freshman of the Year Award.
During his two seasons in Austin, six of MacKay's players garnered NFCA All-Central Region honors, including three (Jefferson, Paige von Sprecklen [P/UT] and Kaitlyn Washington [OF]) in 2018.
MacKay spent the 2015-16 year as the Director of Player Development for Scrap Yard Sports in Houston, Texas, while also working with the former National Pro Fastpitch expansion team, the Scrap Yard Dawgs. During his time with the organization, he was in charge of overseeing player and coach development as well as development camps and clinics while serving as the team's co-head coach.
Prior to his time with Scrap Yard Sports, MacKay served eight seasons as part of Patty Gasso's coaching staff at the University of Oklahoma, where as an assistant, he was responsible for working primarily with OU's outfielders and offense.
During a stint stretching from 2007-2015, he helped guide the Sooners to a 389-97 overall record, eight consecutive NCAA postseason appearances, including four Women's College World Series berths (national runner-up in 2012), five Big 12 Conference regular-season titles, two Big 12 Conference Tournament Championship crowns and the 2013 NCAA Division I National Championship. For his efforts, he shared 2013 NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year honors and four straight NFCA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) accolades.
Helping craft offensive teams that consistently ranked among the nation's elite during each season of his tenure, the 2013 Sooner offense proved especially potent on the way to winning the national title, leading the country in runs scored per contest (7.8) and slugging percentage (.582), while also rating in the NCAA Division I top 10 in batting average (.333), home runs per game (1.54) and doubles per game (1.57). The powerful lineup also established the NCAA single-season record for walks with 348 and set Big 12 season marks for runs scored (476), RBIs (444), slugging and on-base percentage.
Among the numerous individual offensive standouts MacKay helped tutor at Oklahoma were Lauren Chamberlain, who completed her playing days as the NCAA's career HR leader (95 HR's), two-time USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Keilani Ricketts and multi-time All-American Shelby Pendley (finished sixth on the NCAA career HR list with 84). Overall during his time at OU, the Sooners earned a total of 19 NFCA All-America, 39 NFCA All-Region and 52 All-Big 12 Conference honors.
He began his coaching career as either an assistant or volunteer assistant coach with stops at Blinn College (1999-2000), Palm Beach Community College (1998), Cardinal Newman High School (1998) and Northeast Texas Community College (1997).
From there, MacKay spent seven years as a private hitting instructor in Dallas and, in 2004, became a partner in the Dallas Performance Edge Training Center, where he proved instrumental in all aspects of the softball side of the academy, including pitching, hitting, fielding, catching, base running and position specific skills. Prior to his stint at Dallas Performance Edge, MacKay served as a hitting instructor at the Dallas Baseball Academy of Texas from 2000-04 and as head coach of Dallas Tigers Baseball (2003-06). He also spent time as a hitting instructor at Mike Candrea's University of Arizona Summer and Holiday Camps.
MacKay began his own standout playing career on the diamond at the University of Florida (1993-94) before completing his final two seasons of eligibility at Oklahoma State (1995-96). A career .310 hitter and two-time All-Big Eight Conference choice, he reaped second team All-America accolades while helping OSU to a 1996 College World Series berth.
Drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft, MacKay went on to play professionally for the Vermont Expos (1996) and the Cape Fear Crocs (1997) before concluding his pro career with the Northern League's Winnipeg Goldeyes (1998-99) and Sioux City Explorers (1999-2000).
He earned a bachelor's degree in physical education & health from Oklahoma State in 2000.
A native of Mt. Pleasant, Texas, MacKay and his wife Holly are the parents of three children, Ali, Jack and Brooks.