July 22, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Two-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American and 2005 University of Notre Dame softball team captain Megan Ciolli Bartlett (’05) was named head coach of the Ball State University softball program on Wednesday.
A veteran NCAA assistant coach with nine years of experience at four different institutions, Ciolli Bartlett replaces 2014 Mid-American Conference (MAC) Coach of the Year Tyra Perry. Perry recently accepted the head coaching position at the University of Illinois after leading Ball State to an NCAA South Bend Regional appearance at Melissa Cook Stadium in May.
Ciolli Bartlett is the latest former Notre Dame softball team captain to become a collegiate head coach, joining a list that includes Ruth Kmak (’92) at the University of Chicago and Christy Connoyer (’94) at Saint Louis University.
“I am incredibly honored to be named the next head coach at Ball State University,” Ciolli Bartlett said to BallStateSports.com. “I would like to thank (director of athletics) Mark Sandy, (senior woman administrator) Dr. Karin Lee and (deputy director of athletics) Pat Quinn for this exciting opportunity. The softball program at Ball State already has a winning culture in place. I look forward to adding to the tradition of Mid-American Conference championships, regional berths and, eventually, a trip to a super regional and the Women’s College World Series. Upon my arrival on campus I was blown away. Everything is first class; the education, the administration and the facilities. The expectation of excellence is second to none. I cannot wait to meet the current team and get started.”
Under her maiden name Megan Ciolli, she was a four-time monogram winner as an outfielder at Notre Dame from 2002-05, earning NFCA All-America third team accolades in both 2004 and 2005. Also selected as the 2004 BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year, Ciolli Bartlett graduated as the sixth player in program history to be named a two-time NFCA All-American, a mark that has since been equaled and surpassed by three-time All-America selection Emilee Koerner (’15).
Ciolli Bartlett remains Notre Dame’s all-time leader in overall hits (284) and stolen bases in an individual season (33), and is tied with Jenna Simon (’15) for the top spot with 76 career steals. Ciolli Bartlett (Terre Haute, 2005) and Simon (Granger, 2015) are two of only three Indiana natives (Jenny Kriech, Indianapolis, 2002) to serve as team captains in Notre Dame softball history.
A 2005 Notre Dame graduate with a degree in business administration, Ciolli Bartlett earned a master’s degree in business administration in 2007 and later a juris doctor from Northern Illinois University in 2012, and became a licensed attorney in Illinois.
“I’m so proud of Megan,” Notre Dame head coach Deanna Gumpf, who began her tenure as Irish head coach during Ciolli Bartlett’s freshman season in 2002, said. “She has completely prepared herself in deciding what to do for her career. She got her MBA, she got a law degree, and she chose to get into coaching. The great thing about Megan is whatever she chooses to do she is always very good at it.
“She is one of the best up-and-coming coaches in our profession, she’s a competitor, and she has great experience,” Gumpf added. “Megan has worked with some great coaches around the country and has impeccable character. She knows how to do things right, and she will do them well.”
Ciolli Bartlett takes over as head coach in Muncie after spending the 2015 season as a member of the coaching staff at Purdue University, helping guide the Boilermakers to a 31-25 record. Under Ciolli Bartlett’s tutelage, senior infielder Ashley Burkhardt earned NFCA Midwest all-region first team accolades after batting .393 with 11 home runs, 48 RBI, 28 stolen bases and 43 runs scored in her final season at Purdue.
Prior to arriving in West Lafayette, Ciolli Bartlett served as a volunteer assistant coach at DePaul University under NFCA Hall of Fame coach Eugene Lenti during the 2014 campaign. The Blue Demons logged a 44-11 record that season, capturing BIG EAST Conference regular-season and tournament championships before earning a berth to the 2014 NCAA Lexington (Kentucky) Regional.
Ciolli Bartlett broke into the softball coaching ranks full-time as an assistant coach at Northern Illinois from 2007-12, where she worked as recruiting, offensive and camp coordinator for the Huskies. She also instructed both the infielders and outfielders during her NIU tenure, which featured a variety of program records established along with numerous conference and all-region honors earned.
After graduating from Notre Dame, Ciolli Bartlett spent two seasons as a graduate assistant at Loyola University Chicago from 2005-07. The Ramblers captured the 2007 Horizon League regular-season championship with Ciolli Bartlett on staff, and the Loyola coaches earned Horizon League Coaching Staff of the Year accolades that season.
Following her playing career with the Irish, Ciolli Bartlett also spent two seasons with the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league in 2005 and 2006. The Bandits claimed regular-season league championships in both years, and Ciolli Bartlett is believed to be the only professional championship-winning player with Notre Dame softball ties.
“It really shows that hard work pays off,” Gumpf said. “When you make a decision to go for something and you go at it with everything you’ve got, you will make things happen. Megan is a perfect example of that. She decided she was going to stick with coaching and she gave it everything she had, and she has been successful with it. She’s a great decision maker, and if you can make good, strong decisions and go after things wholeheartedly, good things will happen.”
The 2016 Ball State team is expected to return 13 players from last season’s roster that led the Cardinals to a 34-25 record, the 2015 MAC tournament championship and the third NCAA Regional berth (1998, 2010 and 2015) in program history.
“How ironic that Ball State was just at our place for the regional tournament last season, and now Megan is going to be coaching that team,” Gumpf said. “With her as the coach, I wouldn’t be surprised if we begin seeing them all the time at NCAA Regionals. She knows how to win and there is no intimidation factor with her. Even though she is a young head coach, she will let nothing stop her.”
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.