GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida head coach Tim Walton announced the promotion of longtime assistant coach Jennifer Rocha to associate head coach of the Gators softball program.
Rocha, named the 2015 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Assistant Coach of the Year, has been with Walton and the Gators every step of the way during the program’s rise to national prominence. During her 12 years with the program, Rocha has overseen the development of the Gators pitching staff, which has turned into one of the most dominant in the country.
Not to forget she has also been around for all five of Florida’s NFCA Southeastern Region Coaching Staff of the Year awards (2007, ’08, ’09, ’11 & ’17) and was a part of the NFCA Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year in 2015 when Florida clinched its second-straight national championship.
Under Rocha’s guidance, Florida pitching has led the nation in team ERA (2009, ’16 & ’17) in three of the last nine years and four seasons where the Gators posted team ERAs under a 1.00.
Since 2007, Florida has produced the nation’s most NFCA All-American pitchers as seven different student-athletes
have earned 16 All-America pitching honors under Rocha. The Gators have also produced a pair of pitchers who have
won the Honda Sport Award in two of the last three years.
The 2008 and 2009 seasons were record-breaking years for the pitching staff. In 2008, 34 UF pitching records were
broken, including 15 team records. Rocha’s pitchers earned the top spot in program annals for wins (70) and tied for
innings pitched (512.1). In 2009, the Gator staff broke 24 records, including 12 team records, such as ERA (0.69) and
hits allowed (250).
The record-breaking trend has continued since then with four records being broken in 2017 – lowest opponent batting average (.148), strikeouts per seven innings (10.43), shutouts (40) and strikeouts (683).
The duo of Walton and Rocha have achieved great success during their careers at Florida. Since arriving in Gainesville, the Gators have won two national championships, reached eight Women’s College World Series, 10 Super Regionals and have made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament all 12 years.
Since 2006 in the Southeastern Conference, Florida has also won five of its six conference championships and three tournament titles.
Head Coach Tim Walton
“I never believed it was important to have anyone on staff other than the head coach with the same title. However,
Jennifer is the head coach of our pitching staff, she is the head coach when I am not available and she is the head
coach of this program whenever I’m not around.
“By promoting Jennifer to associate head coach, I am not giving her any additional responsibility. She has always been an important and integral part of this program. Jennifer’s loyalty to the University of Florida and this program has given me the confidence to name her the associate head coach.”
THE ROCHA FILE
12 Seasons at Florida
2018 – Present: University of Florida, Associate Head Coach
2006-2017: University of Florida, Assistant Coach
2016: Dallas Charge, Head Coach
2003-05: Wichita State University, Assistant Coach
2002: University of Oregon, Assistant Coach
1999-2001: University of Oklahoma, Graduate Assistant Coach
1998 – Virginia Roadsters, Women’s Pro Softball League
1996-98 – University of Oklahoma, three-year letterwinner
1995 – Long Beach City College, California Junior College Athletic Association All-American
University of Oklahoma, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, 1998 University of Oklahoma, Master’s in Human Relations, 2001
Source- University of Florida Sports Communications