Aug. 10, 2011
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -
Southern Miss Director of Athletics Richard Giannini Announced today the hiring of KIRSTEN VOAK and JON MALGRADI as Co-Head Coaches for the Southern Miss softball program effective immediately pending approval by the IHL Board of Supervisors.
"We are extremely excited that Kirsten Voak and Jon Malgradi will head our softball program in the future," said Giannini. "At Arizona State, Kirsten was an All-American, played in four NCAA Regional's, two Women's College World Series (WCWS) and won the National Championship as an assistant coach (pitching) in 2008.
"The recommendations we received from some of the top coaches in the game were incredible, and as co-head coaches, they will bring a dynamic combination that will put our program back in NCAA Regional and Women's College World Series contention. We were very pleased with the pool of candidates; however, Kirsten and Jon's experience stood out and were the unanimous choice of our search committee."
Voak comes to Southern Miss after spending the 2006-2010 seasons at her alma mater, Arizona State, where she served as an assistant under head coach Clint Myers. In her five seasons with the team, the Sun Devils went 264-73 and won the 2008 WCWS National Championship. That year, Voak and the other members of the ASU coaching staff were named the National Coaching Staff of the Year. The Sun Devils were one of the top programs in the nation and made five consecutive trips to the Super Regional stage of the tournament and four consecutive trips to the WCWS.
While serving as the pitching coach, Voak developed three-time All-American pitcher Katie Burkheart, who was also named the MVP of the 2008 WCWS. She was also responsible for the development of six other All-Americans while at ASU.
Voak was a standout pitcher for ASU from 1999 through 2002, earning All-American honors in 1999 and 2000 and was also a three-time All-Pac-10 selection, earning the distinction in 1999, 2000, and 2001. As a player, she is third all-time in ASU history with 76 wins, including four no-hitters and a perfect game. She is the school's all-time leader with 893 strikeouts, and ended her collegiate career with a 1.48 ERA. Voak's name is all over the single season record book as well, holding the top two spots for single season strikeouts (316 in 2000, 314 in 1999), and she owns the second highest single season win total, 30 in 2000.
Voak was named the ASU Pitcher of the Year three times, and was a member of 1999 Junior Olympic Team and the 2001 ASA/USA National Softball team, helping lead them to the U.S. Cup, where they took home the gold medal. Voak also owns the State of California record with seven perfect games in 1998.
"We are very excited about this opportunity, and becoming part of the Southern Miss family," the couple said in a joint statement. "We are excited for the task at hand of being a part of a new era in Golden Eagle Softball. We want to thank Mr. Giannini and Sonya Varnell for this opportunity to lead Southern Miss softball. It is also a great privilege to share this opportunity to work together as a family, and to move Southern Miss to national prominence. We can't wait to meet our new players and begin an exciting revolution in college softball."
Malgradi comes to Southern Miss after spending the previous three seasons as the head coach at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Ariz., where he compiled a 102-76 record, including a top-10 ranking in 2011 and a regular season conference championship in 2010. The program also set school record marks for wins (42) and their highest ranking in the NJCAA National Poll (No. 2). From 2006-10, he also was a clinician at all ASU softball camps.
Prior to Mesa, Malgradi coached at Central Arizona College in 2008, leading the Vaqueros to a .403 team batting average, and a Division I NJCAA record 484 runs in 62 games.
In 2006-07, Malgradi coached varsity at Seton Catholic High School where he also taught science, biology, and anatomy physiology. In winning a state title at Seton Catholic, Coach Malgradi's team went 20-2, breaking 21 of 23 school records in the process.
Malgradi also played baseball collegiately while at Fresno State during the 1997 and 1998 seasons. However, his playing career was cut short due to extensive damage in his pitching shoulder.
"We had many quality candidates, but Kirsten and Jon rose to the top," said Senior Associate Athletic Director/SWA Sonya Varnell. "Their softball knowledge and skills are fantastic. Their ability to recruit, motivate and communicate is wonderful. Their chemistry together and with the team was phenomenal, and they have proven to be winners, and most importantly, they can develop players. They will be an excellent addition to our Golden Eagle family, and I look forward to working with them."
Voak and Malgradi were married in 2002 and will serve as co-head coaches while hiring a third assistant to complete their staff. Voak graduated from ASU in 2002 with a degree in Sociology while Malgradi earned his degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sports Psychology in 2005, also from ASU. The couple has one child, a daughter, Gianna, who is 23 months old.
What They Are Saying about Kirsten Voak and Jon Malgradi:
Patrick Murphy, Head Softball Coach at Alabama
"As a player, Kirsten was one of the top pitchers in the nation that we faced at Alabama. She did an outstanding job at Arizona State as a coach, winning the WCWS, and she is an excellent role model for young women. Kirsten and Jon will do a great job for Southern Miss."
Mike Candrea, Head Softball Coach at Arizona and former USA National Team Head Coach"I have known both for many years but have watched Kirsten as a player for her career at ASU and her development as a coach. Kirsten will bring tremendous energy, knowledge, and most importantly passion to Southern Miss Softball program. She will recruit with the best and develop athletes as players but most of all, give them the skills to be successful in life after softball. She brings tremendous experience at the highest levels of our game and knows what the process takes to be successful at the Division I level. "
Ken Erickson, Head Softball Coach at South Florida and current USA National Team Head Coach
"Southern Miss just got very lucky to have Kirsten and Jon join their family. Southern Miss is getting quality family people that also have a wealth of knowledge in fast pitch softball. The future and current players need to realize that they will have a great collegiate experience with these two at the helm. "
Stacy Iveson, Former Head Softball Coach at Yavapai College (2011 NJCAA National Champions) and current Assistant Softball Coach at Arizona
"Jon is a very good recruiter and teacher of the game. His teams at Mesa were always well prepared and competitive. Kirsten has a very positive outlook on life and the game. She relates well to her athletes and does an outstanding job of preparing pitchers. I know Jon and Kirsten will do a great job at Southern Miss."