Entering her 13th season at the helm of the University of Kansas softball program, head coach Tracy Bunge is the program's longest serving coach, as well as the winningest coach in KU softball history. Bunge has compiled a 388-314-2 record through 12 seasons with the Jayhawks and has guided the squad to two NCAA Tournament appearances in the last four seasons. Last year, Bunge led Kansas to its winningest season since 1997 as the team racked up 37 victories. The Jayhawks' 37-19 overall record also marked the team's eighth straight winning season and 10th time under Bunge that Kansas has reached the 30-win plateau.
Since her hire in June of 1996, Bunge's Jayhawks have made four NCAA Tournament appearances -- in 1997, 1999, 2005 and 2006 -- and claimed their first-ever Big 12 Championship (2006). The Jayhawks have also been ranked as high as ninth in the country under her leadership and have compiled five straight 30-win seasons.
Off the field, 81 Kansas softball players have earned Academic All-Big 12 recognition during Bunge's tenure, including eight from last year's team. The 2008 season also produced three All-Big 12 honorees for the second consecutive year. Overall, KU has seen 13 players earn All-Big 12 First Team honors in Bunge's 12 seasons with the team.
During the 2008 season, the Jayhawks experienced much success and others noticed too, as Kansas recieved votes in at least one of the two major softball polls for 10 weeks of the season. The Jayhawks also collected a 30-8 nonconference record (.789), the second-best mark in the league.
The 2008 season also saw third baseman Val Chapple earn Academic All-America honors, the program's first Academic All-American since Stephani Williams in 1994, while Dougie McCaulley was named a National Fastpitch Coaches' Associate Midwest All-Region Second Team honoree.
Three years ago in 2006, the Jayhawks experienced one of their most successful seasons in school history winning the Big 12 Conference Postseason Championship, receiving an NCAA Regional automatic bid and compiling a 36-26 record -- the most victories since the 1997 season.
In addition to all the team accolades in 2006, Bunge guided senior Serena Settlemier, who hit a school-record 22 home runs, including six grand slams, to become the first Jayhawk to be named Big 12 Softball Player of the Year. Settlemier also earned 2006 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Second Team All-America honors and was named NFCA Midwest First Team All-Region. Kassie Humphreys, also an All-Big 12 First Team selection, was named NFCA Midwest Second Team and finished the season with a 19-17 record and 1.19 ERA.
Kansas was ranked No. 24 in the May 16 ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll after receiving votes in four of the weekly polls and finished the 2006 season at No. 22 in the final season poll.
Bunge also reached two career milestones during the 2006 season, picking up her 400th career coaching victory on April 20 and 300th win since becoming Kansas' head coach on April 1.
Bunge led the Jayhawks to a 31-24 overall mark and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2005, which included a 9-8 record in the Big 12 Conference for a sixth-place finish. A total of five Jayhawks earned All-Big 12 accolades, while three were named Academic All-Big 12.
The 2005 Jayhawks set two KU school records. KU's defense, which ranked second in the Big 12 and 14th in the nation, recorded a program-best .973 fielding percentage. The 2005 Jayhawks hit 54 homers -- the most ever in KU history -- compared to their foes' 23. Junior Destiny Frankenstein -- an NFCA All-Region selection at shortstop in 2005 -- led the pack with 14 home runs on the season.
In 2002, senior Christi Musser, now an assistant coach at KU, was named third team All-America by the NFCA, becoming the first Jayhawk since 1994 and the first under Bunge's tenure to earn such an honor. In addition, KU landed eight players on the Academic All-Big 12 team, the most of any conference school.
In 1997, Bunge's first year with Kansas, the Crimson and Blue won two games during NCAA Regional play. Two years later, the Jayhawks finished fifth in the conference and again won two NCAA tournament contests. Since her return to KU, Bunge has coached eight all-region selections during her tenure in Lawrence.
Prior to her return to KU as the Jayhawks' eighth softball coach, Bunge compiled a 92-67 mark in three years as head coach at Ohio University from 1994-1996. In 1995, Ohio won the Mid-American Conference title, earned an NCAA Tournament berth and set a school record with 39 wins as Bunge garnered Mid-American Conference and LCI Coach of the Year honors. Her .578 winning percentage was the highest among coaches who had coached at least 100 games at Ohio.
Before taking the reins at Ohio, Bunge spent two years as an assistant coach at Yale, where she served as recruiting coordinator. After a 12-26 record in 1992, Bunge's first class of recruits at Yale led the Bulldogs to a 31-12 record (19-win improvement) and an Ivy League title in 1993.
Bunge's coaching career began at Iowa State as an assistant coach, where she helped the Cyclones to a 133-116-1 record from 1987-1991 and their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth in 1988.
A 1986 All-American, KU's first NCAA All-American for softball, and a 1987 inductee to the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame, Bunge dominated both on the mound and at the plate in her four seasons at KU. A Jayhawk from 1983-1986, Bunge completed her softball collegiate playing career as one of the most decorated athletes ever to wear the Crimson and Blue.
During her four-year tenure as a Jayhawk athlete, Bunge led KU to three 30-win seasons and three Top 10 national rankings. She ended her career by leading KU to a 39-8 record and a No. 5 final national ranking in 1986.
In 1985, Bunge was chosen to be a member of the Athletes in Action European Tour team and hurled 11 victories, including three no-hitters and a perfect game.
As a senior, Bunge rounded out her Kansas playing career by setting the KU single-season mark with a 0.55 ERA, while hurling 15 shutouts, good for fifth all-time. Bunge also hit nine home runs that season and went on to break the KU single-season and career home run records - now held by 2006 senior Serena Settlemier. Bunge also holds the career record for lowest ERA (0.68).
Bunge earned her bachelor's degree from Kansas in 1986 in business administration.
As a player, Bunge continued on with such women's teams as the St. Louis Classics and the traditional ASA powerhouse - the Raybestos Brakettes. There she played for the future two-time Olympic gold medal coach, Ralph Raymond, and was a member of the 1992 National Championship team.
As impressive as Bunge's coaching and playing resumes may be, her success on the diamond does not match her passion for the University or the impact she has on the lives of current and former players.
Named Academic All-Big Eight herself in 1985 and 1986, Bunge is constantly emphasizing equal hard work in the classroom and on the playing field. She has coached a total of 81 Academic All-Big 12 performers during her 12 years at the helm of the KU program.
Bunge continually surrounds herself with dedicated people with the same desire to succeed -- as evidenced by associate head coach Buddy Foster and assistant coach Christi Musser --- and works tirelessly to ensure success.
Whether past or present, on the field or off, Bunge is Kansas softball to her players and all that have been associated with her program.