UConn Softball Coach Inducted into NFCA Hall of Fame

Karen Mullins, head coach of UConn softball 1983-2014. (Stephen Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)
Karen Mullins, a UConn alum and coach of the softball team for 31 seasons, took the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament eight times. (Stephen Slade '89 (SFA) for UConn)

After 31 seasons coaching the UConn softball team (1983-2014) and eight trips to the NCAA Tournament, Karen Mullins took her place among the sport’s elite when she was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Dec. 8.

Mullins was one of four honored during the annual NFCA Convention held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

She is a member of the Pioneer category in the Hall of Fame, which recognizes individuals who have contributed to softball through service, leadership, coaching, and participation. A 1979 alumna of UConn, Mullins was a multi-sport athlete in basketball and softball.

Her all-time coaching record at UConn stands at 862-626-5 (.579) and as of her retirement following the 2014 season, she was one of just 43 coaches in collegiate softball history to surpass the 800-win plateau.

“Coach Mullins has truly left her mark on Northeast softball,” said current head coach Jen McIntyre. “She grew this program into a World Series contender in the early 1990s, and developed hundreds of young women along the way. Her induction into our NFCA Hall of Fame is a celebration of all she has done throughout her career.”

The Huskies made five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 1989 to 1993, also qualifying in 1995, 1996, and 2001 under Mullins’ direction. Softball made the program’s first and only trip to the Women’s College World Series in 1993, a team that set a program record with 45 wins.

UConn won eight Big East Championships from 1990 to 2001, while Mullins was named Big East Softball Coach of the Year on five occasions during that stretch. She was also named NFCA Division I Northeast Softball Coach of the Year three times, in 1989, 1990, and 1993.

Nine different players earned All-American status during Mullins’ tenure, including Pat Conlan, a native of Waterbury, Connecticut, and current head coach at Georgetown.

Mullins earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education from UConn in 1979, and her master’s degree in sport management in 1980. She coached at Nichols College in Massachusetts for two seasons, before returning to UConn for the 1984 season.

The NFCA Hall’s membership now stands at 77 people, following this year’s induction of the 27th Hall of Fame Class.