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Karen Linder,  four time MAC Coach of the Year, has created a legacy of athletic and academic excellence throughout her 33 year career as a head college softball coach.  Coach Linder spent 19 years as the head coach at Division I Kent State University where she accumulated the second most victories of any MAC softball coach in history and the most for the Golden Flashes.  Prior to Kent State, Linder was the head softball coach at Division II Ashland University for eleven seasons where she also coached basketball for eight years.  She started her head coaching career at NAIA Union College in Kentucky where she coached both softball and basketball for three years.  Throughout her career Coach Linder has won championships, led her teams to top 25 rankings for academics, and received Coach of the Year honors in accumulating 801 career victories.  

Linder attributes much of her success for her love of teaching both the mental and physical parts of the game.  “My passion is to teach the game, to help young athletes understand the importance of pursuing academic and athletic excellence, and to do their best in all areas of their lives.  I attribute a lot of my coaching success to the mental training strategies that I have incorporated into my coaching..  I am excited to start working with younger athletes and to teach the same mental and physical strategies, techniques, and skills that allowed my college teams to be successful.  I want to help kids enjoy their playing experiences.”   

My other goal in working with high school athletes is to educate families about the college recruiting process.  I want to help kids and parents understand what it takes to be a successful college softball student athlete and to help them find a college program that will be a good fit for them academically, athletically, and socially. 

With Grand Slam, Karen Linder plans to host skills camps, team camps, and showcases as well as do group instruction, mental training, and recruiting information seminars. 

Coach Linder’s Showcase camp has grown to be the one of the biggest and best in the region.  Her showcase camps have attracted athletes and coaches from all over the USA including participants from California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Canada.

Coaching Accomplishments

In her last ten seasons at Kent State, Linder led the Golden Flashes to seven Mid-American Conference East Division titles with a combined 146-58 mark in conference play.  During that time, KSU won four MAC regular season titles in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2015 and two MAC Tournament championships in 2006 and 2008 leading to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances, along with four Coach of the Year honors. Linder’s most memorable victories came over  #3 Michigan, #6 Kentucky, and #15 UCF with pitching standout Emma Johnson on the mound.  Additionally, Linder and KSU made a record setting 12 consecutive MAC tournament appearances. 

Linder coached 125 NFCA Scholar Athletes during her career and several teams were ranked in the top 20 of the country for team GPA.  In 2013, the Kent State softball team recorded a 3.66 team GPA which ranked second in the country after being third during the 2012 season. During her last four seasons at Ashland University, each of her team’s recorded more than 30 wins and were academically and nationally ranked. 

Linder’s most unique accomplishment came in 2010 when she passed her father’s, the late Dick Fishbaugh, career total.  Together they have the most wins as father/daughter head coaching duo in NCAA history.

Career Highlights:      

            801 - 634 - 2 career record

            11 Academic All Americans

            6 All Americans

            2 NCAA Post Graduate Award Winners

            12 Conference Titles

            6 Coach of the Year Awards


KSU Highlights           

                 1 All American

            18 All Mideast Region Athletes

            7 Academic All Americans

            25 Academic All District

            50 All MAC Athletes

            62 Academic All MAC Athletes

            2 NCAA Tournament Appearances

            4 MAC Regular Season Titles

            7 MAC East Titles                              




Division I:  NFCA HCC, NFCA All-American Selection, NCAA Regional Ranking, ESPN Top 25 Poll, MAC Softball Executive Committee


DII:  NCAA National Softball Committee, regional chair



Summit County Softball Hall of Fame

Field of Dreams Award of Distinction

NFCA Career 801 Victories

Otterbein University Excel Award for Coaching

Otterbein University Hall of Fame

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