Coach Kristi Bredbenner and Wichita State softball ended a landmark season on Sunday in the NCAA Norman Regional. While the post-season run ended against No. 1 Oklahoma, the accomplishments of the 2021 Shockers and Bredbenner's role in building the team are worth a closer look.
Bredbenner's time at Wichita State includes three NCAA berths, three conference regular-season titles and Wichita State’s first trip to an NCAA regional title round in 2018. She coached conference players of the year in the Missouri Valley Conference (Cacy Williams in 2014 and 2016) and the American Athletic Conference (Wright in 2018 and Sydney McKinney in 2021).
Over her 10 seasons at Wichita State, she built a program with prodigious power hitters and a strong work ethic tempered with empathy and a desire to see her team get a full college experience.
“She is somebody who, I would say, coaches you hard, but then loves you harder,” said Wichita State assistant coach Elizabeth Economon, who played with and for Bredbenner at Truman State (Mo.) University. “She’s going to help you look at an apartment if you’re not sure it’s a safe place to live. She’s going to help you take your animals to the vet because she’s an animal lover.”
Bredbenner is a Kansas City Chiefs fan and ranks an Elton John show she attended as a bucket-list concert. She loves country music and Taylor Swift and enjoys amazing her players by telling them she went to a Puff Daddy & The Family concert while in college.
Bredbenner fixes a flavorful brisket and favors IPAs when she visits a local brewery. She built a picnic table for her backyard and customized Shocker vinyl covers for travel mugs for her coaching staff as Christmas gifts. She and wife, Jamie, have an 18-month-old daughter, Blake.
"She's never made a bad meal," Economon said. "Everybody has 24 hours in a day and Coach B seems to have 36 and somehow gets an amazing amount of things done. You're constantly going, 'So you did how many things today? And got it all done. And you have a family. And you made dinner. And went to the grocery store?'"
To learn more about Bredbenner's journey from business administration major to coach at Truman State and her path to Wichita State, go to goshockers.com.