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2016 NFCA Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year
2014 NFCA Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year

2013 BIG EAST Conference Coaching Staff of the Year
2011 BIG EAST Conference Coaching Staff of the Year
2004 NFCA Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year
2004 BIG EAST Conference Coaching Staff of the Year
2002 NFCA Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year
2002 BIG EAST Conference Coaching Staff of the Year

Regarded as one of the best all-around catchers in Irish history, Kris Ganeff is now in her 16th year as an assistant coach with the Notre Dame softball program. 

Ganeff, elevated to her current title of associate coach in August of 2012, spearheads the recruiting efforts for Notre Dame softball, which annually attracts the top players from across the nation. In addition to being the program's recruiting coordinator and running and directing Notre Dame's camps and clinics, Ganeff is currently serving her first term as the assistant coach representative on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Coaching Education Committee.

A key member of four NFCA regional and four BIG EAST Conference coaching staffs of the year at Notre Dame, Ganeff works closely with each player on hitting and defense, specializing in the development of the Irish infield and catchers.

Notre Dame Highlights:

• 4-Time NFCA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year (2002, 2004, 2014, 2016)

• 15 NCAA Regional Appearances in 15 Seasons

• 10-Time NCAA Regional Finalist
• 11-Time BIG EAST Conference Champion (Seven Regular-Season, Four Tournament)

• 4-Time BIG EAST Conference Coaching Staff of the Year (2002, 2004, 2011, 2013)

• 2-Time Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Runner-Up (2014 & 2016)

• 3 USA Softball National Player of the Year Finalists

• 2 NFCA Freshman of the Year Finalists

• 17 NFCA All-Americans

• 64 NFCA All-Region Selections (42 First Team Choices)
• 6 Conference Players of the Year

• 4 Conference Pitchers of the Year

• 2 Conference Freshmen of the Year

• 96 All-Conference Selections (51 First Team Choices)

• 4 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans

• 9 NFCA Division I Scholar-Athletes

• 4 NPF Draft Picks

• Jarrah Myers – 2002 CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year

Perennially one of the best defensive teams in the nation, Notre Dame has finished among the top 25 programs in fielding percentage in six of the past seven seasons dating back to 2010.

The Irish broke back into the national top 10 with a team .974 clip in 2016 to finish in solo 10th place. Notre Dame previously posted a .973 percentage with only 39 errors in 2015 to place 21st in the NCAA.

The Irish were 11th in the country at a .974 fielding clip, with the 37 errors recorded by the Irish in 2014 the second-fewest (36, 1993) during a single season in program history. What's more, defenders under Ganeff's watch produced a .978 fielding percentage (31 errors) in 2010, the nation's fifth-best mark that season, with both totals ranking as Notre Dame records.

Cassidy Whidden emerged as a standout performer behind the plate for Notre Dame during her final three seasons (2013-15) under Ganeff’s mentorship, finishing as a two-time NFCA all-region selection and a two-time all-conference performer. Whidden concluded her career tied for fourth on the all-time Notre Dame home run list (35), and was one of seven Irish sluggers to hit 10 or more home runs in consecutive seasons.

During Notre Dame's final season in the BIG EAST Conference in 2013, the Irish enjoyed a national top 25 finish (23rd) with a final combined fielding percentage of .971. The Irish committed the fewest errors of any BIG EAST team (45), and senior catcher Amy Buntin staked her claim to being one of the best defensive players in collegiate softball, recording only one error in nearly 400 chances behind the plate (.997 fielding percentage). 

Under Ganeff's tutelage, Buntin was named to the 2012 NFCA All-America second team, at the time the 21st All-American in Notre Dame program history. Buntin led the Irish with a .360 batting average and 60 RBI, and posted a .990 fielding percentage behind the dish as a junior.

Another star Ganeff catching pupil was Alexia Clay, who in 2011 was named to the NFCA Great Lakes Region and BIG EAST first team. Clay made the most of her senior campaign and carried a big stick with a .482 batting average in league play. Clay led the league with a .571 on-base percentage and 23 runs scored. Clay was a constant threat behind the plate with 295 putouts, 40 assists and two errors for a sterling .994 fielding percentage and ended her career ranked among the top fielders in program history.

Ganeff helped mold catcher Mallorie Lenn into an all-BIG EAST performer in 2004 – a season in which the Irish also finished with a 49-20 record and took home the conference championship. Then in 2008, the Irish were without a catcher when starter Sadie Pitzenberger's season was cut short due to injury. Ganeff took (then) freshman utility player Erin Marrone – who had never played catcher before in her career – under her wing to call the shots for all-region pitcher Brittney Bargar. Marrone saw action in 55 contests for Notre Dame that season and did not commit a single error in the field or behind the plate.


Prior to the 2006 season, Ganeff was promoted to the first assistant position with the Irish. The shift paid off well for all parties involved – Ganeff would assume full control of the team during the first three weeks of the season and led the team to a 7-6 record while head coach Deanna Gumpf was on maternity leave.


Ganeff completed her Notre Dame career by earning all-BIG EAST and all-NFCA Mideast Region honors as a senior in 1999. She hit a career-high seven home runs in her final season while throwing out 16 attempted base stealers from behind the plate. Ganeff ranks fifth in Notre Dame history with 1,040 career putouts, and logged 157 hits, 10 home runs and 75 RBI at the plate during her four seasons with the Irish. 

The Virginia Roadsters of the Women's Professional Softball League (WPSL) drafted Ganeff after she graduated from Notre Dame in 1999, though the former Irish team captain and MVP instead chose to head into the coaching ranks by taking an assistant position at UNLV. 


A native of Westerville, Ohio, Ganeff earned a bachelor's degree in history from Notre Dame and completed her master's degree in physical education from Ball State in 2009. The former Kris McCleary has been married to John Ganeff since 2002, and the couple resides in South Bend with their daughters, Deven and Hayden.

Kris Ganeff
Kris  Ganeff

Associate Coach

Alma Mater:
Notre Dame '99

16th Season

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