UC Davis competed in four one-run games throughout its time at the NFCA Leadoff Classic
Bringing coaching experience from all levels of collegiate softball, Karen Yoder enters her ninth year as head coach at UC Davis.
During her tenure, she has been instrumental in guiding the program through its transition from Division II to a member of Division I and the Big West Conference. Along the way, she has continued the program's longstanding commitment to both academic and athletic excellence. In 2010, Yoder brought UC Davis to another milestone when the Aggies qualified for the NCAA Stanford Regional - the program's first Division I postseason appearance.
For her part, the 2010 season included two personal milestones. Yoder claimed her 100th UC Davis victory during the opening week, then picked up her 300th collegiate win on March 26 against Sacramento State.
Yoder also kept busy off the field in 2011, being chosen to attend Dimension II of the NCAA Women's Coaches Academy in Chicago, Ill. In 2010, Yoder was chosen as the NFCA's All-America Committee chairperson and serving a second term as that organization's Pacific Region representative. Along with these positions, she was elected as a member of the NFCA Ethics Committee. Meanwhile, back at UC Davis she served as the head coach representative for the university's Title IX Athletic Administrative Advisory Committee. Yoder previously earned a spot with the NCAA Women's Coaches Academy in 2008.
The 2012-13 season will also mark the first for Yoder as a member of the NFCA's Diversity Committee. This five-member panel will focus its efforts onreviewing current standards concerning diversity in the NFCA, and the sport, and recommend changes and clarification in NFCA policies and procedures, and for the sport in general, relating to diversity.
In 2007, just her third year with the Aggies and the final year of the school's transition to Division I, she guided the team to a 31-27-1 record. That record represented a 16-win improvement from the previous season. The 2007 season also included a perfect record at the National Invitation Softball Tournament in Sunnyvale, Calif. A year later, the Aggies set a new school record with 60 stolen bases while finishing second in the Big West in strikeouts. The pitching staff was equally successful a year later, compiling the second-best ERA in the conference. It also once again ranked second in strikeouts.
In all, Yoder has 338 career victories, picking up her 200th win early in the 2006 season. For reaching that milestone, she was honored by the Easton Victory Club at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Convention in December 2007.
The team's success on and off the field has resulted in several individual accomplishments in Yoder's tenure. Prior to the Aggies move to the Big West, six players were named Division I Independent First Team All-Conference. In 2008, Jessica Hancock was named Big West First Team All-Conference while two additional Aggies received honorable mention. In 2010, Big West postseason honors for the Aggies included the top freshman field player, a first-team selection and four with honorable mention. Alex Holmes, who will serve as a student assistant coach in 2012, earned her third straight All-Big West first-team nod in 2011. Under Yoder's direction, Holmes was a NCAA Division I statistical champion with eight triples in 2011. Off the field, multiple Aggies have been honor with either ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District or Big West All-Academic.
Yoder came to UC Davis from Napa Valley College, where she served as head coach during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, compiling a 45-40 mark. She led Napa to the Bay Valley Conference title in her first season, earning BVC Coach of the Year honors. In 2004, Yoder guided the Storm to a runner-up finish in the league's West Division.
Prior to her stint at NVC, she served as head coach at North Carolina Greensboro where she guided the Spartans to a 31-27 mark in 2001 and a 35-30-1 finish in 2002.
Yoder held her first head coaching position at Cal State Hayward (now known as Cal State East Bay), where she guided the Pioneers to an overall record of 80-56-1 in three years. She twice won Cal Pac Conference Coach of the Year accolades, posting a combined league record of 32-3 during 1999 and 2000. Yoder had served as an assistant coach at Hayward for two years.
As a collegiate player, Yoder lettered three years as a catcher and designated player at New Mexico from 1991 to 1994. She previously played at West Valley College, where she was selected as NorCal Catcher of the Year in 1990. She won All-America honors as a catcher the following year at the ASA national tournament.
After her collegiate career, Yoder played two years in the Women's Professional Fastpich League as a member of the Georgia Pride and the Durham Dragons. In fact, she was a teammate of UC Davis All-American Trisha Reinhardt (Hayes).
Yoder earned her B.S. in kinesiology/professional perspectives from Cal State Hayward in 1996 and added a master's degree in that field in 1999. She served as an instructor both at Hayward and at Napa Valley College.
Yoder and her husband, Shawn, have three children - Jenna, Michael and Natalee.