Kristi Stefanoni joins Select Softball and 3Step Sports after 15 seasons at UMass Amherst, the last eight as head coach. Stefanoni worked her way up the Amherst staff starting as the Director of Operations, then moving to Assistant Coach, Associate Coach and finally head coach in 2014. Stefanoni’s coaching career included six A-10 championships, five NCAA tournament appearances and a 21-0 conference record in 2018.
During her coaching tenure, Stefanoni also helped the team improve their fielding percentage from .945 to .956. She also worked with the pitching staff to lower their ERA by half a run in her first year at the helm. Offensively, Stefanoni worked with two of UMass Amherst’s program icons, Candice Molinari and Cyndil Matthew. Both hitters had all-conference seasons with averages over .400.
Stefanoni was a dominant player during her four years at UMass. She was a co-captain for the 2006 Minutewomen team that advanced to an NCAA Super Regional. During her collegiate playing career, she maintained a .950 fielding percentage, scored 75 runs and stole 26 bases.
When outlining her vision for Select Softball, Stefanoni noted her desire to “build and grow the top softball league for 10U, 12U, and 14U” players, allowing each athlete to improve their skills and reach their goals. From this foundation, Stefanoni is looking for the next wave of 16U and 18U talent to join the Select Softball ranks and cement Select Softball as the premier name in the softball community for travel teams and Collegiate Coaches. On top of this elite player pool, Stefanoni is guiding Select Softball to something nobody else does, giving “everyone involved an outstanding softball and personal experience.” Select Softball will give the “player, parent, and coach the best experience possible, whether on the field, at the venue watching games, or in the recruiting process at the events.”
As a coach and recruiter, Stefanoni has extensive knowledge of the “development process necessary for all top softball athletes.” With her experience having visited other events as a coach, coupled with her experience developing top athletes at UMass, Stefanoni has “designed and structured tournaments and recruiting combines that will benefit both the athlete and the coach.” This attention to detail will benefit all those involved and will be the foundation to the Select Softball model.
Select Softball’s approach is individualized rather than a cookie cutter model. The players within the Select Softball family, especially those who are active participants from early on in their career, will have the chance to “develop as a complete softball player” which will help “open up the door to numerous opportunities.” While softball is at the heart of this organization, and development of the athlete’s softball skills is a high priority, Stefanoni also wants to emphasize the growth and development of the individual’s overall athletic abilities, and most importantly, the development of the person.
Stefanoni maintains a busy life outside of softball as well. She is a big weightlifter, having been a member of a power lifting team in high school and continuing with this activity to this day. She also helps her friends with their farm harvesting tobacco, vegetables, and pumpkins in various seasons. Stefanoni says, “it is a great way to stay in shape and learn something outside of my athletic life!” She is also a huge dog lover and has a chocolate lab, Dakota. When she isn’t at the field, on the farm, or in the gym, Stefanoni enjoys suspenseful or mysterious movies and TV shows, along with all things Harry Potter.