U.S. head coach Kenneth Scott Eriksen smiles during the WBSC Women's Softball World Championship on Aug. 11, 2018 in Chiba, Japan.
Head coach of the U.S. women’s softball team since 2011, Ken Eriksen has won just about all there is to win in red, white and blue — besides an Olympic gold medal.
Eriksen will try to do just that at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, for which he was officially confirmed as head coach of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Softball Team on Tuesday by USA Softball. That’s no surprise considering the resume Eriksen has compiled with Team USA, including two world championships, the second of which clinched an Olympic berth last year.
Eriksen will lead an Olympic softball team for the first time as the sport makes its return to the Games for the first time since 2008, but it won’t be his first Games on the bench. Eriksen was an assistant when the Americans took the gold medal in dominating fashion in Athens in 2004. After a second stint as an assistant from 2009 to 2010, Eriksen took over the program in 2011.
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He holds a 52-4 record as head coach of Team USA in major international competitions.
Eriksen will be the third Olympic coach in U.S. history after Ralph Raymond (1996 and 2000) and Mike Candrea (2004 and 2008). Team USA earned gold medals in 1996, 2000 and 2004 before taking the silver in 2008.
When not coaching Team USA, Eriksen has assembled a legendary career at the University of South Florida. Eriksen has been associated with the university since 1979, when he was a freshman on the baseball team. After a men’s fast pitch softball playing career that included a silver at the 1991 Pan American Games, he became a USF assistant in 1993 before taking over as head coach in 1996. He has since led the Bulls to 12 NCAA tournaments and more than 950 career wins.
Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.