Longhorn Hall of Honor: Cat Osterman
Nov. 18, 2011
Natalie England, TexasSports.com
In the pitcher’s circle, Cat Osterman rarely even acknowledged the foe she wanted to conquer. In fact, she was downright dismissive.
Her focus was on her catcher, and occasionally, if she was trying for a rise ball, she might even acknowledge the batter’s hands. But that’s it, no eye contact or even a nod.
The view was different for everyone else -- and still is. The legend of No. 8 is both towering and daunting, much like the figure opposing batters encountered every time she toed the rubber.
A three-time National Player of the Year, four-time All-American and 2004 Olympic Gold medalist, Osterman is one of the most decorated student-athletes to ever compete at The University of Texas.
“You could tell me to throw something, and I was going to find a way to throw it and they’re not going to be able to hit it,” Osterman says. “I always had a game plan, but a lot of knowing what I wanted to do next was a gut feeling.”
The only softball individual to ever win National Player of the Year honors three times, Osterman shouldered the Longhorns to three trips to the Women's College World Series (2003, 2005 and 2006) while earning USA Softball's National Player of the Year honor in each of those three seasons.
She still holds UT career records in victories, ERA, shutouts and no-hitters and holds the NCAA record for career strikeout ratio per seven innings. Osterman posted the lowest ERA in the NCAA in 2003, 2005 and 2006 and remains the only player in NCAA history to lead the nation in ERA on three occasions.
Osterman took a year away from college in 2004 to train with the USA National Team, and became the only collegian and youngest member on the Olympic Team that won a gold medal in Athens.
“She’s one of the most competitive, driven athletes who has ever come through The University of Texas,” UT head coach Connie Clark said. “She’s been a great ambassador for the game of softball, and she just embodies everything you think of when it comes to Texas and being a Longhorn.”
Growing up in suburban Houston, Osterman “pretty much lived for sports growing up.” Her first love was basketball, and she even played goalie in youth soccer leagues. But a pitching lesson for her 11th birthday set her on a path that has impacted the rest of her life.
Osterman came to the Longhorns as a coveted national recruit and put her stamp on the program almost immediately. A 15-strikeout performance against Stephen F. Austin in February of her freshman season produced the first perfect game in UT history, and was just one of nine flawless gems Osterman orchestrated.
As a sophomore in 2003, Osterman registered a 32-6 mark and a 0.38 ERA in leading the Longhorns to their second-ever appearance at the Women’s College World Series.
In her final two seasons with the Longhorns, Osterman won 68 games, fired 50 shutouts and 11 no-hitters in leading UT to back-to-back Women’s College World Series appearances.
Osterman earned the 2005-06 Honda Softball Player of the Year Award and the 2006 ESPY Award as "Best Female College Athlete.” On the conference level, she won Big 12 Pitcher of the Year honors in each of her four seasons and remains the only athlete in league history to win a major award four times.
Osterman was named Big 12 Conference Female Athlete of the Year a record three times (2003, 2005 and 2006).
“It’s been a fun ride. A lot of good things have come from it, and I definitely think it’s because I chose to go here,” Osterman said. “I could have put up the same performances elsewhere, but Texas offers the fan base and national recognition. All of that put together gave me an opportunity that I never dreamed of -- I just wanted to go play in college, and I wanted to wear burnt orange.”
Osterman graduated from The University in 2007 with a psychology degree, and has competed professionally with the USSSA Pride of Orlando, Florida, in the National Pro Fastpitch League and most recently in Japan. Osterman served as an assistant coach at DePaul University for three years, and is currently an assistant softball coach at St. Edward’s University in Austin.