OU softball team sets program bests during World Series run

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

The Ottawa University softball team turned in a record-setting season. The Lady Braves set a school record for wins (45), won the KCAC regular season and tournament titles, the program’s second NAIA Opening Round championship and played in the fourth NAIA World Series.

Along the way, pitcher Casson Rassmussen won her 30th game to become the second Ottawa pitcher with 30-plus wins in a season.

The Ottawa University softball team recorded a program best 45-7 mark in 2021. Freshman infielder Cierra Faubion throws to first base for an out.

The 3-1 win Saturday over Milligan University gave Ottawa coach Jay Kahnt his 500th career win. It was just the second World Seres victory in program history.

He became the 23rd softball coach in the NAIA to win 500 games. The 500 victories are the most by any coach in OU school history.

“Winning 500 games also says we have had some great players come through our program," Kahnt said. "None of this is possible without great assistant coaches and players. I want to thank our administration for their support, all the assistant coaches over the years and the work they have done for our program, and the players who have been in our program that have made this possible."

Kahnt's win total spans 20 years at Ottawa. He guided Ottawa to four NAIA World Series, three NAIA Opening Rounds, three Region IV Tournaments, won five KCAC championships, and two KCAC Tournament championships. Kahnt has been named KCAC Coach of the Year five times, and has coached 125 All-KCAC selections.

"It has been inspiring to watch coach Kahnt's coaching career from No. 1 to No. 500, and the exceptional program he has built,”Ottawa Director of Athletics Arabie Conner said. "He has high standards on and off the field for his players, as he pushes his team to exceed expectations year in and year out. His teams always have a grit to them, and simply know how to compete, which all translates to important life skills. This program trait isn't an accident and is clearly attributable to the tone, work ethic, drive and vision coach Kahnt instills."