BATESVILLE, AR – Lyon College head softball coach Travis Owen has announced the addition of his pitching coach this week with the hiring of former University of Massachusetts Boston ace Kara Willis.
Willis played a key role for the Beacons' success in recent years, as a leader on the pitching staff that helped the team to back-to-back Little East Conference Championships. During her career (2009-12), she broke several pitching records for UMass, including strikeouts (223), innings pitched (389.0), appearances (70) and complete games (52). She also participated in the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, representing softball for the Institution.
After her graduating from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, Willis decided to remain at her alma mater for the 2013 season serving as the Beacons' Assistant Softball Coach. During this past season, Willis had helped coach five NCAA All-Conference players in the Little East, one NFCA All-Region player and helped coach Sue Killilea into the NCAA record books for most career triples (31).
The 2008 Burrillville (RI) High School graduate is also a Certified Personal Trainer (CFT).
Outside of UMass, Willis has done a lot of one-on-one training through the Extra Innings franchise. Through the organization she has developed pitching, catching, and hitting camps for girls ages 6-18, as well as private training. She has also been involved with the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) serving as the Head Coach for a Junior Olympic team, New England Fire (2011, 2012) and the New England Riptide (2013).
"I believe it is important to remain a student of the game," Willis stated. She has enrolled and completed multiple National Fastpitch Coaches College courses and is working towards completing all eight. She has also obtained to her personal training certification through the International Sports Sciences Association as well as working towards her Masters in Coaching Education with the University of Ohio.