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Jacks name McSweeney as next softball coach

South Dakota State Athletic Director Justin Sell has announced the hiring of Kristina McSweeney as head coach of the Jackrabbit softball team.

“I am thrilled to welcome Kristina and her family to South Dakota State,” said Sell. “She is a proven winner with a competitive fire that will make an immediate impact on our program. I really look forward to the future of Jackrabbit softball under Kristina’s leadership.”

McSweeney comes to SDSU from Arkansas Tech, where she spent 10 seasons guiding the Golden Suns to a 356-184 overall record. Under McSweeney’s direction, ATU won two Great American Conference regular season titles and four GAC tournament crowns. The Suns qualified for the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament six of the last seven seasons and advanced to the Super Regional in 2016.

“I would like to thank Mr. Sell, Mr. Larscheid, the search committee and the entire Jackrabbit family for giving me the opportunity to serve as the head softball coach at an incredible institution with a rich history of winning,” said McSweeney. “It is a privilege and honor to be working with a championship caliber athletic staff. I am eager to start coaching and mentoring a very talented group of student-athletes that had an amazing season last year. It is my goal to work relentlessly to continue the program’s winning tradition. The Jackrabbit softball program will continue to achieve excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community. My family and I are very excited to immerse ourselves in the beautiful community of Brookings and SDSU.”

McSweeney was tabbed the GAC Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2022. She coached six All-Americans, 13 all-region selections and 51 all-conference players over the last 10 seasons, including ATU’s first All-America first-team pick in Megan Goodnight in 2018.

Off the field, McSweeney’s ATU teams posted a cumulative team GPA of 3.5 or higher in each of the last 10 seasons. McSweeney and the Suns also earned a number of community service awards.

Before her time at Arkansas Tech, McSweeney spent four seasons as the head coach and two as an assistant at Seminole State College in Seminole, Oklahoma. The Trojans went 180-71 in her four years at the helm and finished in the top-five at the NJCAA National Tournament in 2009 and 2010. McSweeney coached eight All-Americans and four Academic All-Americans at SSC.

A native of Miami, Florida, McSweeney played two seasons at Barry University, where she was a two-time NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete and part of two NCAA Tournament teams. She also spent two seasons at Seminole Junior College and earned NJCAA All-America and Scholar-Athlete All-America honors.

McSweeney will take over a Jackrabbit program that has reached the NCAA Tournament each of the past two seasons after winning both the Summit League regular season and conference tournament titles. SDSU topped the 40-win mark in both 2021 and 2022, turning in an 84-21 combined record over that two-year span, including a 39-3 mark in Summit League regular season games.