Mesa’s Mort retiring from coaching after season
Mesa's Mort retiring from coaching after season
Kris Mort is ready for the next stage in her life.
The longtime Colorado Mesa University softball coach has announced her retirement, effective at the end of the season, to become a full-time athletic administrator at Mesa.
She will be an associate athletic director and continue her duties as senior woman administrator and the faculty advisor of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
“It’s an exciting time,” Mort said. “I’m helping more than just my team. There are 500 and some other athletes here, because of SAAC, I’ve gotten to know. Having been here as long as I have, hopefully I can be a mentor to other coaches. As much as we’ve grown, there is so much work involved on the internal side.”
Mort informed her team at practice Tuesday.
“It was actually a big shock to all of us,” senior outfielder Danni Vallie said. “I agree with her decision. She’s been the coach for 18 years. I had a feeling it was coming, but it was a shock it happened to be this year. I’m glad she didn’t decide to retire before my senior year. If they really need her to be (in the administrative offices), it was her decision.”
It won’t be easy for Mort to step away from the softball field.
“It’s been my passion and what I found as my natural niche as a child,” Mort said. “This has been my niche and what I excelled at that developed me as a person and today as a professional. It’s definitely a comfort zone for me.
“Will I miss it? Of course. There’s a class of juniors here that’s hard to walk away from. There is a class of freshmen coming in I need to notify, ‘You’re not playing for me.’ “
Junior infielder Lisa Pille was recruited by Mort and credited her for teaching her about more than just softball.
“She’s really taught us so much not only as players, but young women, not only in the field but as we graduate,” Pille said. “It will be a different change (next season) but as long as Coach (Christina) Weiser sticks around, that would be good, but we’ll adapt to the new coach.”
Mort is in her 19th season as the softball coach, the longest tenured coach in the program’s history. She won her 500th game last season and has compiled a 516-329 record.
Under her guidance, the Mavericks made seven trips to the NCAA tournament (2010, 2009, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1998 and 1997), won three RMAC titles and made one appearance in the NCAA Elite Eight (2000). In 2001, Mesa broke the NCAA Division II record for most home runs in a season with 98.
Of all her accomplishments, she’s most proud of her longevity not only in coaching, but coaching at one institution.
“A lot of women aren’t staying in coaching,” Mort said. “I think the younger coaches getting into it aren’t lasting the 19-20 years as much. Mostly, the longevity at one school. I’ve felt this is a great place for me. I’ve never felt like I needed to go somewhere else. This is home for me.
“(I’m proud of) developing this program that is known across the country. We have our up and down years, but everybody knows Mesa State and now CMU softball.”
The Mavericks begin Mort’s final season Feb. 17-18 in the RMAC/Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference crossover tournament in Pueblo.
Mort is in her sixth year as the school’s assistant athletic director/senior woman administrator. As the associate athletic director, Mort will oversee eight intercollegiate varsity sports, six emerging sports, SAAC and travel authorization for 23 intercollegiate varsity sports and six emerging sports.
“It’s time to grow on the administrations piece,” Mort said. “I’ll be helping with compliance and eligibility more. The compliance piece with the addition of more athletes has become a monumental task for Bryan Rooks.
“The most difficult part is (leaving) the kids, the game and this (softball) facility. It becomes a bit of a sanctuary, if you will.”