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The softball team was the first UCF athletics program to move into a state-of-art new venue during the recent wave of facilities expansion and construction on the school's growing north side of campus. Now having the UCF Softball Complex as home field, the program has immediately positioned itself among American Athletic Conference's finest.
The UCF Softball Complex, opened on March 14, 2006, speaks volumes for how far the program has come, and to the upward direction it is still heading. Evident of the team's growth and success was its 2008 C-USA Championship and NCAA Gainesville Regional finals appearance. UCF softball also made apperances in the NCAA Tournament in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The UCF softball team won the 2014 AAC Conference Championship and made an NCAA Gainesville Regional finals appearance. In 2105, the Knights won both the AAC Regular Season and AAC Conference Championship along wih making the finals of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional.
The field at the UCF Softball Complex is artfully-manicured by a dedicated grounds crew operation. The stadium also includes space for game day ticketing, retail, marketing and concessions. The complex contains a building housing coaches offices, team training room, spacious locker room, player's lounge and conference room. Connected to the main building on the west side is a lighted indoor batting cage, bullpen area and roomy home dugout. Finally, the UCF Softball Complex is adorned with picturesque Florida palm trees located just behind the outfield fence.
If you or someone you know are interested in team/individual clinic with a UCF Coach, please contact Tiffany Jordan for pricing and availability at Tjordan@athletics.ucf.edu
Renee Luers-Gillispie enters her 16th year at the helm of the UCF softball program in 2017. Since starting the program in 2002, Gillispie has led the team to four conference championships, including the program’s first regular season and conference titles in 2015. The Knights earned the program’s seventh NCAA Regional bid in 2016, marking the first time in school history with three consecutive regional appearances - all of which ended in the Regional Final.
The Knights and Gillispie have a record of 562-358-1 over the last 15 years, while Gillispie owns a National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) record of 814-562-3 and an NCAA record of 767-534-3.
UCF faced its toughest slate in program history in 2016, playing 21 games against Top 25 opponents. The Knights posted 15 consecutive wins, the second-longest stretch in school history, and saw their streak of being ranked in the national polls reach 19 weeks.
The Knights produced the best season in program history in 2015. A school record 50 wins highlighted a campaign with 11 single-season records. UCF led the nation with a 0.93 ERA while boasting a .979 fielding percentage that ranked second in the nation in 2015. Making their national poll debut on Feb. 17, the Knights were ranked for 14 consecutive weeks. Reaching as a high as No. 13, UCF finished the 2015 campaign at No. 16.
Junior Shelby Turnier and senior Mackenzie Audas finished the season ranked first and second in the nation as both recorded ERAs below 1.00. Turnier became the first NFCA All-American in program history, while Audas earned the first Capital One Academic All-America honors in school history.
Gillispie earned her second American Athletic Conference Coaching Staff of the Year accolades, while guiding Turnier to The American Pitcher of the Year and Jessica Ujvari to The American Player of the Year honors. A program-best seven Knights earned All-AAC First Team laurels, while six members of the squad earned NFCA All-Region recognition.
During the inaugural campaign of the American Athletic Conference, Gillispie led the Knights to the first regular-season championship and the program’s fifth NCAA Tournament appearance. Recording her 700th career victory while leading UCF to a 43-18 overall record, she coached Farrah Sullivan to American Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors in 2014. A program-best 15 student-athletes were named to the American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team.
In 2012, the Knights made their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance after 10 wins over fellow NCAA Tournament opponents led to just the second at-large birth in program history.
Gillispie guided the Knights to their third appearance in the NCAA Tournament and their second appearance in the Conference USA Championship Game in 2010. The Black and Gold defeated No. 7 Alabama, No. 16 Tennessee and No. 22 Ohio State and earned the program’s first at-large bid into the Regional Tournament.
Gillispie guided her squad to the program’s first Conference USA Championship crown in 2008 with a victory at No. 9 Houston and fought its way to the NCAA Regional Championship game with a win over No. 1 Florida. The team’s 49 wins on the season were the most in program history, while its 26 votes in the final NFCA Coaches Poll were its most tallies. Gillispie also posted her 500th career win in 2008.
The Black and Gold cruised through the C-USA Softball Championship with a 3-0 record to earn the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Freshman Tiffany Lane earning tournament MVP honors, while Allison Kime, Breanne Javier, Marquita Council and Hillary Barrow joined her on the all-tournament team.
In 2005, Gillispie led the Knights to their first Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship and the team received the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Knights picked up their first postseason win with a 5-3 victory at Florida. In the regular season, UCF picked up wins over three ranked opponents in addition to the program’s first win over in-state rival Florida State. Stephanie Best was named A-Sun Player of the Year for the third-consecutive year after leading the nation in home runs (26).
Best was the first UCF softball player to be drafted by the National Pro Fastpitch league when the New England Riptide took her in the fourth round. She ended her career with a .384 batting average, .756 slugging percentage, 71 home runs, 285 hits, 216 runs scored and 213 RBI.
During the 2004 season, Gillispie earned her 100th win at UCF and the team finished the season with a 42-21 overall record.
In the 2003 season, Best was named A-Sun Player of the Year and was recognized by the NFCA on the all-south region team, while pitcher Dottie Cupp and Jania Shinhoster received A-Sun All-Conference honors.
During the inaugural season in 2002, the Black and Gold had a 46-19 record and posted a 21-game winning streak, setting an A-Sun record. Cupp and Shinhoster were named all-conference and all-region while Best earned all-conference.
To date, Gillispie’s players have earned 62 all-conference honors, five conference player of the year awards, two conference pitchers of the year, two freshmen of the year honors and one co-newcomer of the year award. Four former Knights have also gone on to play in the NPF.
Academically, UCF has garnered 12 CoSIDA Academic All-District honors, ten C-USA All-Academic Team accolades, 90 league honor roll members and 17 academic medal recipients under Gillispie.
Prior to UCF, Gillispie spent four years building the Texas Tech program. She led the Red Raiders to a No. 17 national ranking in 1998 and a No. 24 ranking the following season. Her team earned runner-up honors at the 1999 NCAA Regional Championship.
In addition to her successful career at Texas Tech, Gillispie rebuilt softball programs at Bradley University and Joliet Junior College. In 1993, she took over the Bradley program that finished 12-25 in 1992 and in two short years posted a record-breaking 33-8 season. The 1994 team also finished in second place in the Missouri Valley Conference and was ranked fifth in the nation for winning percentage.
Gillispie received N4C Conference Coach of the Year honors as head coach of the 1992 Joliet (Ill.) Junior College team that won the conference championship. She had inherited a 2-29 team in 1991 and transformed that same team into an NJCAA Regional Runner-up with a 32-12 record by 1992.
In addition to coaching at the collegiate level, Gillispie has served as an international speaker for the Italian Softball and Baseball Federation Coaches Convention and also traveled to Athens, Greece as a guest coach for the Greek National Team in 2001.
While she directs her own softball camps and clinics, she has also worked as an instructor with the Griffey International Gold Medal Camp and Higher Ground Camps and Clinics under British National coach Bobby Simpson.
Gillispie began her playing career as a pitcher at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she pitched in two NJCAA National Championship Tournaments. In 1981, she was ranked ninth nationally as a NJCAA pitcher.
Moving on to West Texas A&M, she set nine career pitching records including most wins, most strikeouts and most saves.
In 2005, Gillispie was inducted into the West Texas A&M Athletics Hall of Fame.
Gillispie resides in Oviedo.
Tiffany (Patteson) Jordan enters her third season on the UCF Softball coaching staff. Her primary responsibilities include working with the infielders and hitting.
In her first season at UCF, the Knights posted a .979 fielding percentage - the second-best mark in the nation. At the plate, the Black and Gold produced the highest batting average in program history at .292, and set at program record in on-base percentage (.364). UCF hit 39 home runs, in 2015 the fourth-most in a single season and the most since 2005. Kalyn Cenal became the first Knight to hit 10 or more home runs since the 2005 season as she finished with a team-best 11.
The UCF coaching staff repeated as The American Coaching Staff of the Year after leading the Knights to the first regular season and conference tournament championships in program history. The back-to-back conference champions made the first consecutive NCAA appearances in program history, finishing as the runner-up in the Tallahassee Regional.
Jordan joined the Knights in 2014 after seven seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater Youngstown State, including the last four as the associate head coach. She returned to YSU in the fall of 2008 after a highly decorated playing career from 2003-06 and primarily worked with the outfielders and hitters.
During her tenure as associate head coach, Jordan recruited the 2014 Horizon League Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year and developed the 2012 Horizon League Player of the Year.
A four-time All-Horizon League selection, Jordan, formerly Tiffany Patteson, finished her career at YSU as the only player in school history to play more than 200 games, starting all 205. She also set career records in hits (231), at-bats (664), doubles (56), triples (18), walks (84) and runs scored (126).
The Guelph, Ontario, native was a silver medalist at the 2003 Pan American Games as a member of Team Canada. She also competed for Team Canada from 2003-05 at the Canadian Fastpitch International Championship and played in the 2003 Softball World Cup and the 2004 World University Games.
This past summer Coach Tiffany was part of the Canadian National Coaching Pool and led the Canadian Junior National team at The Canada Cup and Junior Women's World Championship.
She and her husband, Shawn, live in the Central Florida area.
Trena Prater was named an assistant coach at UCF on July 31, 2017. She is focused on working as the hitting coach as well as other daily responsibilities.
Prater has spent a combined seven season as a head coach, compiling 141 victories with stops at Buffalo and Hampton. Prater, formerly Trena Peel, was a standout player at LSU from 1999-2002, earning 2002 SEC Player of the Year and being named a semifinalist for the 2002 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award.
Under the watch of Prater, Buffalo posted a drastic turnaround during her first season in 2014. The Bulls won the MAC East Division Title after being selected last in the preseason poll by the league’s coaches. A number of program records were set – victories (30), batting average (.266), doubles (71), runs scored (236) and RBI (208).
While at UB, she guided six players – Tori Speckman, Holly Luciano, Sammi Gallardo, Alexis Curtiss, Savanna Norcio and Ally Power – to All-MAC accolades, while three student-athletes earned All-MAC Freshmen honors. Curtiss was tabbed as a member of the 2015 NFCA All-Region First Team and 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team.
She helped mentor Speckman to set the program’s record for single-season (22) and career victories (48), while tallying a program-best 228 strikeouts in 2014.
Prior to Buffalo, Prater spent three campaigns as the head coach at Hampton, improving the team’s win total each season. She doubled the Pirates’ win total following her first season and then guided the program to a 34-26 mark in 2013. Hampton captured the MEAC Tournament title that year, earning a trip to the NCAA Gainesville Regional.
Before becoming a head coach, Prater spent seven years as an assistant coach at Mississippi Valley State (2008-10), Maryland (2006-08) and George Washington (2003-04).
She also brings professional experience to UCF, playing for the Akron Racers (2004, 2008-09), New York Juggernauts (2005), Chicago Bandits (2006) and Philadelphia Force (2007) in National Pro Fastpitch (NPF). Prater also participated in the 2009 MLB Celebrity All-Star Game during all-star weekend in St. Louis, Mo.
The 2003 LSU graduate was named a 2002 Easton First-Team All-American, 2002 NFCA Second-Team All-American and 2002 SEC Softball Player of the Year with the Tigers. The three-time All-SEC honoree set the LSU record with 27 triples, which is among the Top 20 in NCAA history. Prater also tallied a career .323 batting average with 296 hits and 45 doubles.
While at LSU, Prater was a 1999 USA Junior Olympic Softball team member and played on the 2001 USA National Red Team. She was also selected to the USA Elite Team in 2002 and 2003.
She and her husband, Joe, live in Orlando.