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Kathy Leitke
Kathy Leitke
Position: Head Coach
Alma Mater: Central Michigan
Graduating Year: 1985
Phone: (269) 276-3288
Email: kathy.leitke@wmich.edu
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Leitke Photos
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Leitke Videos
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The Western Michigan University softball program is under the direction of head coach Kathy Leitke. The 2014 campaign will mark Leitke's 14th in Kalamazoo, making her the longest tenured coach in program history. 

In 2013, Leitke surpassed a pair of coaching milestones, winning her 600th career game as a head coach and reaching the 300-win plateau at Western Michigan University.  Her 300 wins at WMU also rank second in program history, 21 behind Kim Worden.  Leitke also has the second most home wins in program history with 108 heading into the 2014 season.

In 2012, WMU staked its claim as one of the elite programs in the MAC, reaching championship day at the conference tournament for the second year in a row before falling to Miami in the consolation final.

The 2011 season was one for the record books as Western Michigan captured the Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament titles in the same season for the first time ever.  The Broncos also boasted a MAC Player of the Year (Gracie Barstad) for the first time in program history, while Leitke was named MAC Coach of the Year for the second time at WMU, the only Broncos coach to accomplish the feat.

In 2009 she surpassed the 200 win mark at Western Michigan University and amassed at least 20 wins for the eighth-straight time in nine seasons at the helm of the Broncos, advancing all the way to the MAC Tournament title game for the second time in four years.  WMU had three all-conference selections with Lexi Jager and Meredith Whitney earning First Team All-MAC and Brittney Reist earning Second Team All-MAC in 2009.  Whitney was also named MAC Freshman of the Year, the second Bronco to ever earn that honor.

The Broncos saw slugger Jager, also named First Team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Great Lakes Region, break the single-season and career home run records in 2009 as Broncos earned Mid-American Conference Player/Pitcher of the Week honors five times.  Western Michigan won at least 16 conference games for the fourth time under Leitke and finished second in the MAC West Division for the fourth time as well, second year in a row.  WMU ended the regular season with the second-best conference record in the MAC and earned a spot in the MAC Tournament title game for the sixth time ever and second time since 2006.

In 2008 Leitke reached two significant milestones in her career.  On April 25, she reached the 500th coaching victory of her career with a 13-3 win over Akron.  Two weeks earlier, Leitke reached the 100-win mark in Mid-American Conference games with a 7-2 victory over Buffalo.  Leitke and associate head coach Jamie Spitale came to Kalamazoo in 2001.

Since her arrival from the junior college ranks, Leitke has developed the Bronco program into one of the top competitors, not only in the MAC, but in the region as well.

WMU has surpassed the 30-win plateau in three of the last six seasons, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished in nearly a decade.  The Broncos’ current run of seven-consecutive winning MAC records has been accomplished only one other time in program history (1977-84).  Fran Ebert’s Broncos accomplished the feat in eight seasons as there was only a conference tournament during the 1982 campaign.

Western Michigan reached 20 wins for the eighth time in nine seasons under Leitke in 2009, finishing the year 25-22 and 16-6 in the MAC.  The Broncos boasted two first team All-MAC selections in Becky Bartosz and Kyla Sullivan and the program’s second MAC All-Freshman Team selection in three years with Lexi Jager.  Jager was also named second team All-MAC.

WMU is also one of only two programs to advance to the MAC Tournament in each of the last seven opportunities.

WMU notched another 20-win season in 2007 after claiming its third regular season title in 2006, going 31-13 and 18-4 in the MAC, during the regular season. The Broncos earned the top seed in the postseason tournament in 2006, falling in the championship game.  Leitke was named MAC Coach of the Year for the first time in her tenure in Kalamazoo.  She became the second coach ever to win the award (Kim Worden, 1997) and the only WMU softball coach to win it outright.

Then junior Kristi Strange led the nation in doubles per game (0.48) in 2006, while also setting the team and conference marks for doubles in a season.  Under Leitke’s tutelage, then junior Amanda Heckaman broke the school record for RBI in a game with seven.  This feat was matched by Becky Bartosz against Illinois-Chicago during the 2007 campaign.

The Broncos finished second in the West Division for the second-straight year in 2005, earning yet another appearance in the league’s postseason event.  WMU finished 14-9 in league action and had a pair of student-athletes tabbed to the First Team All-MAC squad.

The 2004 season included another deep run into the conference tourney and a second-place finish in the West Division.  The all-conference rosters were full of Bronco players, including the MAC Freshman of the Year (Kristi Strange).

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