UCF Restructures and Extends Ball-Malone Contract

ORLANDO – After the most successful season in program history, UCF softball head coach Cindy Ball-Malone has signed a contract extension to keep her leading the Knights through the 2027 season. Her existing contract was restructured and extended by a year after she most recently signed an extension in August 2021.

"We believe 'Bear' is one of the elite softball coaches in the country, and our intent is to hire individuals of that caliber and keep them here at UCF," says UCF vice president and director of athletics Terry Mohajir. "This latest addition to her contract demonstrates both our commitment to her as well as her intent to continue the high level of success she has enjoyed here with the Knights for years to come. This falls in line as we execute our Mission XII plan when it comes to investing in our championship head coaches"

The Knights reached new heights in 2022, winning the American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles for the first time since 2015. After finishing the regular season at No. 15 in the RPI, the Black and Gold earned the right to host a regional in the NCAA Championship as the No. 16 national seed. UCF didn't stop there as it swept through the Orlando regional, beating Villanova 6-0 before topping No. 24 Michigan twice. The incredible campaign came to an end in the NCAA Super Regionals at the hands of No. 1 Oklahoma, the team that went on to win the national championship.

"We are honored and blessed to receive such great support from Terry and our administration—not just me, but also our players, our coaching staff and our entire program," says Ball-Malone. "Our family is super thankful and appreciative for this latest commitment from Terry. We love Knight Nation and we're here to stay."

UCF finished the season with a record of 49-14, just one victory shy of tying the program best. The Knights finished the season ranked No. 14 in the USA Today/NFCA, their highest finish at the end of a campaign, topping the No. 16 mark achieved by the 2015 squad. The 2015 Knights climbed as high as No. 13 in the NFCA poll, meaning this year's team earned the second-highest ranking in program history.

Ball-Malone was named the National Coach of the Year by Extra Innings Softball on Tuesday, the first coach in program history to win the honor.

Ball-Malone brought in an entirely new staff for the 2022 season, adding assistant coaches Whitney Jones and Tyler Heil along with volunteer assistant coach Kaija Gibson and graduate assistant and UCF softball alumnus Alea White. Together, the staff was named the American Athletic Conference Coaching Staff of the Year (in unanimous voting) and the NFCA Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year.

Ball-Malone and her staff helped in generating the program's second All-American in Jada Cody, who had one of the more memorable seasons a UCF hitter has experienced. After mashing a single-season program record with 75 RBI, Cody was named to D1Softball's All-America first team as well as Softball America's All-America second team.

Cody, along with Gianna Mancha, were named to NFCA All-Region teams. Mancha earned first-team honors while Cody was named to the second team. Eight Knights received all-conference honors in 2022, with Cody and Kennedy Searcy earning unanimous nods to the first team. They were joined by Mancha, Justene Molina and Denali Schappacher. The second team included Kama Woodall, Micaela Macario and Ashleigh Griffin. Macario and Griffin were unanimously named to the conference's all-rookie team.

Stay tuned to UCF Softball on Facebook (/UCFSoftball), Twitter (@UCF_Softball) and Instagram (@UCF.Softball) for the latest on the UCF softball team.

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