Kathy Veroni (Head softball coach, 1971-2005)
Veroni led the Westerwinds to 869 victories, 11 conference
championships, five AIAW national tournaments and three NCAA
tournaments during her 34 years as head softball coach, from 1971-2005.
of the winningest coaches in NCAA softball history, Veroni compiled an
869-631-3 (.579) record with the Westerwinds. She ended her career
ranked among the top-15 winningest coaches in NCAA history. As head
coach for Western Illinois softball, field hockey and the Macomb Magic,
a summer league team from 1979-85, Veroni coached approximately 2,200
Well-respected among her peers as a coach, clinician and
author of three books (Coaching Fastpitch Softball Successfully, Off
the Bench and The Softball Bible), Veroni has been President of the
National Fastpitch Coaches Association and chairperson of the NCAA
Softball Rules Committe. She is also a member of the Illinois State,
Illinois Amateur Softball Association and National Fastpitch Coaches
Association Halls of Fame.
Veroni led Western Illinois to 19
consecutive 20-win seasons and 27 winning campaigns
throughout her career. The Westerwinds advanced to the NCAA Tournament
after sweeping through the Gateway Conference Tournament in 1992 and
the Mid-Continent Conference Tournaments in 2000 and 2001.The
Westerwinds enjoyed a record-breaking season in 2000, collecting a
school-record 46 victories, including 25 consecutive wins, the nation's
longest streak for more than three weeks. The squad also won a
school-record 21 conference games and reached No. 4 in the final NCAA
Mideast Regional poll, the highest regional ranking in school history.
Western ended the season with a 46-14 overall record and a 21-1 mark in
conference play. Repeating as Mid-Con Tournament champs in 2001, the
Westerwinds went undefeated in the three-game championship series, then
allowed just one run in the NCAA play-in series to sweep their way into
back-to-back NCAA Tournaments.
Veroni developed Western Illinois into the Mid-Con's most dominant program. Having led Western to more regular
season titles than any other school, Veroni's teams captured six
championships in 12 Mid-Con seasons, including four straight from
1995-98, and never finished lower than third. She developed
six players of the year and 74 all-conference selections, and has
compiled a 162-53 (.753) all-time record in Mid-Con games and a 23-20
(.534) mark in the Mid-Con Tournament. Her players set nine
single-season and seven career conference records.
Veroni earned her bachelor's degree in physical education
from Illinois State in 1968 and her master's from Michigan State in 1971. Her professional
playing career included a stint with the world champion Connecticut
Falcons in 1977, a member of the Women's Professional Softball League.
She was also a member of the longest-running women's fastpitch team in
the nation, the Pekin Lettes, from 1969-75.