NORMAN — USA Softball announced Saturday that University of Oklahoma head softball coach Patty Gasso has been named head coach of the United States' second national team that will compete in the World Cup of Softball in Irvine, Calif., in July. Gasso will also serve as a USA assistant coach at the Japan All-Star Series in June.
One of the most accomplished and respected mentors in the sport's history, Gasso is about to start her 24th season as the Sooners' head coach. She has directed OU to 11 Women's College World Series appearances and to four national championships (2000, 2013, 2016 and 2017).
"It's a thrill and honor to be part of USA Softball," said Gasso. "I look forward to working with some of the best softball athletes in the world and helping to take them to new heights. This is a challenge I am committed to and will give everything I have as we strive for the gold medal."
"I look forward to working with some of the best softball athletes in the world and helping to take them to new heights. This is a challenge I am committed to and will give everything I have as we strive for the gold medal."
Former Sooner Keilani Ricketts and current OU volunteer assistant coach Janie Reed were announced as members of the 17-player 2018 World Championship roster Saturday. That squad, to be coached by Ken Eriksen, will also compete at the World Cup of Softball in July, as well as at the Women's World Championship in Chiba, Japan, in August. The Women's World Championship will serve as a qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Ricketts, who made the USA roster as a pitcher, was the 2012 and 2013 USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Year and helped OU to the 2013 national title. As a Sooner, she went 125-35 in the circle with a 1.23 ERA, and hit .334 with 47 home runs. Ricketts has played five seasons with National Pro Fastpitch's USSSA Pride and in 2017 went 10-3 with a 1.38 ERA to earn All-NPF honors.
A three-time All-American outfielder at Oregon who finished her collegiate career in 2015, Reed, whose maiden name is Takeda, was a starter in 240 of her 241 career games. She was a career .392 hitter with the Ducks and stole 102 bases.
Under Gasso, OU has claimed 10 Big 12 regular season titles, including an unprecedented six straight since the 2012 season, and five postseason league championship crowns. Gasso's teams have finished first or second 18 times in the 22 years since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996.
She has coached 53 All-Americans, 125 all-region honorees and 89 first-team all-conference selections. In the Big 12 era, Sooners have been named Big 12 Player of the Year a total of 12 times and Big 12 Pitcher of the Year five times. Six Sooners have been selected as Big 12 Freshman of the Year and one as Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
Oklahoma starts the 2018 season Feb. 9 against Weber State at the Grand Canyon University Kickoff Tournament in Phoenix, Ariz.