*Press Release Credit: Oklahoma State University Athletics
STILLWATER – Oklahoma State softball coach Kenny Gajewski has been named the recipient of the 2018 One Dream Zero Distraction Rising Star Award, it was announced this past Saturday.
Gajewski is the third recipient of the award which seeks to honor coaches that have shown great promise early in their respective coaching careers. Previous recipients include Georgia assistant coach Rachele Fico (2016) and Cal State Fullerton associate head coach Jorge Araujo (2017).
During his two-year stint in Stillwater, Gajewski has rejuvenated the Oklahoma State softball program, leading the Cowgirls to a pair of 30-win seasons and OSU's first two appearances in the NCAA Tournament since competing in the 2011 Women's College World Series. His 70 wins rank as the most by an Oklahoma State head coach during his or her first two seasons.
Gajewski has overseen plenty of talent on the field during his brief tenure as head coach. Included in his group of successful competitors is the 2016 Co-Big 12 Player of the Year, Vanessa Shippy.
Under Gajewski's tutelage, Shippy has blossomed into one of the most decorated players in what already is a program filled with historically-successful competitors. She has earned All-America and Academic All-America honors in each of the past two seasons with Gajewski as her coach, making her the first player in team history to earn multiple Academic All-America and All-America honors.
Shippy has also set numerous team records, and she will have the opportunity to break several more during the upcoming season - Gajewski's third in charge of the program.
Along with several other All-Big 12 and All-Region selections, Gajewski has also helped shape the Oklahoma State program in the classroom.
During his brief tenure, OSU has had 22 Academic All-Big 12 selections, 18 of which earned first-team honors. The Cowgirls led the Big 12 in both years (10 in 2016, 12 in 2017) and both years now sit as the two best single-year marks in Cowgirl softball history.
Gajewski and his staff have been recognized for their quick success in turning around the program, as they were named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Midwest Coaching Staff of the Year following the 2017 season.
The 1DZD Rising Star Award honors full-time head or assistant coaches within the softball ranks. To be eligible, an honoree must be an assistant coach with no more than five seasons on the job.
Head coaches must either be in their first stint, with not more than three seasons coached and at least two winning seasons achieved. They can also be in their second stint as a head coach, having not coached more than five seasons while also having at least three winning campaigns during their tenure.
For more information and updates on the Cowgirls, follow @CowgirlSoftball on Facebook and @CowgirlSB on Twitter.
Rising Star Award
Kenny Gajewski (2018), Jorge Araujo (2017), Rachele Fico (2016)
* Only FT positions as a head coach or assistant coach count.
* Can't be a current or past 1DZD Client.
* Assistant coach with not more than five seasons.
* Head coach in first stint with not more than three seasons and at least two winning seasons.
* Head coach in second stint with not more than five seasons and at least three winning seasons.