NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Former University of Notre Dame infielder and 2012 senior quad-captain Kasey O'Connor has re-joined the Irish softball program as the team's director of operations, head coach Deanna Gumpf announced on Tuesday. O'Connor will be the second person to serve in the role that was created in the summer of 2012, succeeding fellow Notre Dame graduate John Whitty ('10).
O'Connor's primary responsibilities will include assisting the Notre Dame coaching staff in coordinating travel and recruiting events, while overseeing the team's social media presence and gameday promotional activities. She will also serve as a team liaison with the Notre Dame ticket office and other support staff within the athletic department.
"Understanding the direction we want to go with our director of operations, it needs to be someone who is very familiar with our program and understands our coaching staff," Gumpf said. "Chemistry on the team and within the staff is very important and we don't ever take that for granted. Having one of our alumnae come back and fill this position is really special. We feel we have gotten to know Kasey way beyond the player aspect, and feel like she's a great fit for our staff."
O'Connor was a four-year monogram winner during her playing career for the Irish from 2009-12, helping the program to the 2009 BIG EAST Conference tournament championship, two BIG EAST Conference regular-season championships (2010-11) and four straight regional appearances in the NCAA Championship. She competed in 125 career games at Notre Dame, batting a cumulative .283 with 11 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and 50 runs scored in four seasons as a key utility infielder for the Irish. O'Connor added nine stolen bases (in 11 attempts) during her career, to go along with a .953 fielding percentage.
The righty second baseman enjoyed her best statistical season as one of four senior captains that guided the 2012 edition of the Irish to a 40-16 record (16-3 BIG EAST) and, at the time, Notre Dame's 14th straight NCAA Regional appearance. O'Connor was one of seven Irish players to bat .300 or higher during the campaign, finishing with a .301 clip to go along with five doubles, one home run, 11 RBI and 12 runs scored in 32 games (28 starts). She also chipped in six multiple-hit games during her senior season, and her seven-game hit streak from April 28 against Providence through May 6 at Pittsburgh was the third longest among all Notre Dame players in 2012.
O'Connor was a member of the most recent Irish conference tournament championship winning team, appearing in 35 games as a freshman for the 2009 Notre Dame squad. She scored 18 runs as a primary pinch runner, which was the third-most among all Irish freshmen that season. O'Connor was also one of 12 Notre Dame softball players to earn BIG EAST All-Academic Team accolades in 2009.
O'Connor re-joins the Irish softball program after spending one year as an on-campus licensed property assistant with former Notre Dame athletics apparel provider adidas. She assisted in product procurement, the outfitting of all 26 Notre Dame varsity sports teams, liaising with equipment and coaching staffs on apparel presentations and other day-to-day functions in the partnership between adidas and the University.
O'Connor also served as a financial analyst with US BioScience in Deerfield, Ill., from June 2012 until Jan. 2013, and US Medical Products in Round Lake, Ill., before returning to Notre Dame last July.
"The great thing is she got away from Notre Dame, went into the business world, and luckily came back here a year later," Gumpf said. "Kasey was around our program last year, and was able to see how the inner workings are from a coaching perspective and a director's perspective. She's coming in with her eyes wide open in understanding what we really need from this position."
A native of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., one of only four players in program history to hail from the Empire State, O'Connor graduated from Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business in the spring of 2012 with a degree in finance. She becomes one of three Notre Dame softball alumnae on the current Irish coaching staff, joining associate coaches Kris Ganeff ('99) and Lizzy Lemire ('01).
-- Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant