|Tyra Perry Head Softball Coach|
Courtesy: Ball State Athletics
Tyra Perry, the 2014 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year, enters her second season as the head coach of the Ball State softball program. In her first year at the helm, Perry led the Cardinals to their fifth MAC regular season title in the past six years, as Ball State boasted a 12-4 record in league play.
Ball State posted a 33-19 overall record on the year, including a 3-0 victory at then-No. 3 Arizona State (March 2), marking the highest-ranked opponent the Cardinals have defeated since a 2-1 victory at then-No. 3 Missouri (March 19, 2010).
Perry mentored four players to 2014 National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Great Lakes Region honors, with Ball State being the only MAC school with a first-team all-region honoree. In addition, Ball State’s four overall selections were one fewer than the league’s other 11 teams which combined to garnered five.
Perry helped senior Jennifer Gilbert become the first two-time All-American in program history when she was named to the NFCA All-America Second Team. Gilbert is just the fourth two-time All-America selection in MAC history, and one of only nine MAC players to ever be named to either the first or second team.
Gilbert also become the first-ever three-time MAC Player of the Year, and just the 11th player in NCAA Division I history to earn their respective conference player of the year award three times.
Perry also helped Ball State’s student-athletes garner a program-record five First Team All-MAC selections, topping the previous school record of four set in 2009. It marks just the third time in league history five players from the same squad have earned first-team honors, joining Kent State (2007) and Central Michigan (1996). The Cardinals also had one player selected to the All-MAC Second Team.
Named the eighth head coach in Ball State history on August 6, 2013, Perry owns a 375-363-1 career coaching record, including her one year at Ball State and six-year coaching stints at both Western Kentucky (2008-13) and Birmingham-Southern (2002-07).
In her six-year tenure at WKU, Perry guided the Lady Toppers to a 196-146-1 (.573) overall record, including the program's first-ever NCAA Regional appearance in 2013. WKU advanced to the championship game of the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional in her final season and finished the year ranked No. 26 in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), the highest final ranking in program history.
Perry also guided the Lady Toppers to several other firsts during the 2013 campaign. The program posted its first 40-plus win season (43-18) and earned its first Sun Belt Conference regular season title with a 20-3 league record. WKU played its way into the SBC Tournament championship game for the first time under Perry, falling just short of the title with a 2-0 loss to then-No. 19 South Alabama.
The two-time SBC Coach of the Year (2013 and 2009), Perry helped junior pitcher Emily Rousseau earn the program's first SBC Pitcher of the Year honor in 2013. In her six seasons with the Lady Toppers, Perry helped her players garner 14 All-SBC honors, 13 SBC Player of the Week honors, 10 SBC Pitcher of the Week honors and eight SBC All-Tournament Team selections.
In the classroom, Perry’s Western Kentucky student-athletes earned five CoSIDA Academic All-District selections, 22 recognitions on the Sun Belt Commissioner's List and 34 Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll awards.
Perry guided Birmingham-Southern to 146 victories in six seasons as head coach, despite the Panthers being a provisional NCAA Division I member during her first two years with the program (2002-03). In 2006, she led Birmingham-Southern to its first winning season in program history and finished with a 28-21 record.
Her Panthers squads posted at least 25 wins in each of her final five seasons with the program. In addition, 15 Birmingham-Southern student-athletes received postseason honors from the Big South Conference during Perry’s tenure, and five players earned recognition after both the 2005 and 2006 campaigns.
In 2006, Perry added the title of Assistant Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator to her duties and served as BSC's compliance director. Perry was also the head coach for the Southeastern All-Star team which played the United States Olympic squad prior to the 2004 games in Athens.
A 1997 and 1998 graduate of Louisiana State University, Perry earned her degree in kinesiology in 1997 and added a master's degree in sports administration in 1998. She was a two-year letterwinner in softball for the Tigers (1997-98), and helped the program post a combined 102-28 (.758) record over her career, including a 58-14 (.806) mark in Southeastern Conference play.
She also helped the Tigers pick up a pair of SEC West Division titles and make the program's first-ever NCAA Regional Tournament appearance where it finished second.
In her first season at LSU, Perry led the Tigers with a .345 batting average, 11 home runs, 40 runs scored, a .416 on-base percentage and a .612 slugging percentage. Those numbers helped her earn recognition on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-South Region Second Team, as well as first-team All-Louisiana honors and a slot on the SEC’s all-tournament team. Perry led the team with five homers in 1998, while posting a .324 average with 29 runs scored and 38 RBI. Off the field, she was twice named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Perry was inducted into the Zachary High School Hall of Fame in her hometown of Zachary, La., in 2007.
Tyra Perry Year-By-Year