In 10 seasons at James Madison University, Katie Flynn’s Dukes have averaged 28 wins per season, and in 2009 she lead her team to its most successful season to date. Madison won the 2009 Colonial Athletic Association Championship, ending Hofstra's seven-year run as conference champions. The Dukes advanced to Knoxville Regional of the NCAA Tournament, becoming the first team in program history to qualify for the postseason event.
Entering her 11th season at the helm for JMU, Flynn has recorded a 283-252 record and is 443-426 in her 17-year career.
The Dukes have reached the CAA Championships seven times in the program's ten-year history, including two appearances in the championship game. In 2008 Madison finished second in the conference tournament after four third-place finishes in the previous six seasons. The Dukes finished 2008 on a 13-game winning streak, including five come-from-behind wins, as they advanced to the championship game for the first time in five CAA tournament appearances.
The 2008 team's success came one year after Flynn led the team to a school-record 38 victories in 2007, including tying for the CAA regular season crown with a 17-3 mark. That year the Dukes ended the regular season on an 18-game winning streak, setting yet another school mark.
The only softball coach in JMU history, Flynn took the reins of the first-year program in November of 2000. She notched the program’s 100th victory in 2005 with a 3-2 win over CAA foe Delaware in the regular season finale and its 200th victory in 2009 with a 2-0 win over Akron on Feb. 14.
Flynn has refined her skill of working with and developing young players. Under her guidance Jenny Clohan (2007) and Lauren Curtis (2003) were named to the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I Mid-Atlantic All-Region first team. Jenn Chavez was the first JMU player to receive co-Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year honors in 2007 and was joined by Ashley Burnham in 2010, and Lauren Curtis was named Colonial Athletic Association co-Rookie of the Year in 2003. Ashlee Schenk, Katie Jaworski and Leah Evert also earned All-CAA honors in 2003.
Curtis, along with Briana Carrera, ranked among the national statistical leaders in their initial seasons at JMU in 2003. In 2005, Jaworski was named to her fourth all-conference second team, and Carrera and Liz George were named to their second. In 2007 a conference-leading nine Dukes received CAA honors. Chavez, Clohan, Katie George, Lauren Mernin, and Kaitlyn Wernsing were all named to the first team while Meredith Felts, Amber Kirk, and Courtney Simons were named to the second team. In 10 seasons at JMU Flynn has mentored 35 All-conference selections, eight all-region honorees, two CAA Players of the Year, one CAA Rookie of the Year, and 10 All-Rookie team selections.
One of Flynn's main goals after becoming the head coach was to turn JMU softball into a competitive program on a regional level. After her first year at the helm she was well on her way to achieving that objective. In the first year of the team’s existence, Flynn guided the Dukes to a 25-24 record and a berth in the semifinals of the CAA Championships.
Of the 18 players Flynn had on her roster at the beginning of the 2002 season, only two had intercollegiate experience, and 11 were true freshmen. While young and inexperienced, the Dukes, under Flynn’s coaching, found ways to win close games. They won 12 games by two runs or less, including wins over Drexel (1-0) and George Mason (5-4) in the CAA Championships. Leah Conley, Evert and Jaworski earned All-CAA recognition in 2002.
Flynn joined the JMU staff with seven seasons of head coaching experience. A 1990 Colgate graduate, she was the head coach at Colgate from 1994-97 and at North Carolina Greensboro from 1998-2000. She led Colgate to a 22-18 record and a second-place finish in the Patriot League Tournament in 1997 and UNC Greensboro to a second-place finish in the Southern Conference in 1998. She had a 60-87 record at Colgate and a 100-87 mark at UNC Greensboro. UNC Greensboro was 37-29 during the 2000 season.
"JMU is a wonderful fit for me with my experiences at Colgate and UNC Greensboro," Flynn said when accepting her JMU position. "It's an extraordinary opportunity for me personally and professionally. It's a dream to work in a setting that balances academic excellence and a sound athletic program. Starting a varsity program will be a lot of work, but it's a challenge that I'm looking forward to."
"We are extremely pleased to have a coach of Katie's caliber join our staff," said JMU athletics director Jeff Bourne. "She's an avid recruiter and has proven she can be successful in two other programs. We are equally excited about the addition of softball to our athletics program. There is great interest in the sport among our students and among students who are considering applying to JMU."
Flynn coached the 1998 Southern Conference player of the year while at UNC Greensboro, and Colgate had only its third 20-victory season in 1997. The Red Raiders were among the national leaders in scoring, fielding percentage and earned run average.
Before joining the Colgate staff, Flynn was an assistant for two seasons at Ohio State, where she coached first base and worked with the team's outfielders. She also has worked as an assistant coach and as an intern in the sports information office at Stetson.
Flynn is a voting member of the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Softball Poll and serves as a member of the NCAA Northeast Regional Softball Advisory Committee as well as being a member of JMU's standing committee on Gender Equity. She has also served on the 2005-2006 Gender Equity subcommittee for JMU's NCAA Athletics Certification Self-Study.
Flynn was named to the 10-member NCAA National Softball Committee with her appointment beginning in September 2006.
A native of East Greenwich, R.I., Flynn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Colgate and a Master of Arts degree in sports management and athletic administration from Ohio State in 1993. She lettered four times as a catcher in softball at Colgate and helped the Red Raiders to an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament berth in 1987 and to a team-record 24 victories in 1990.
Updated May 23, 2011