Full name: Marla Kay Looper
Since her arrival at Texas, Looper has helped Texas earn three trips to the Women's College World Series (2003, 2005 and 2006), capture three Big 12 Conference regular-season titles (2002, 2003 and 2006), win three Big 12 Tournament Championships (2002, 2003 and 2005) and make eight NCAA Tournament appearances (2000, 2002-03, 2005-09). Following the 2003 season, the Texas coaching staff was named the Speedline/NFCA Division I Coaching Staff of the Year and in 2006 the Texas coaching staff was named the NFCA Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year.
The past three seasons, coach Looper has been charged with developing the Texas defense on a day-to-day basis. A great teacher, Looper works to improve UT's defensive mechanics, while preparing the team at practices.
Looper also serves as team's base running and short-game coach, while also working as the teams Nike representative.
During Looper's stint as pitching coach, Texas' pitching staffs led the nation in earned run average in three of her final four seasons at that post. In 2006, UT posted a 0.81 ERA, a year after posting a program-best 0.60 ERA in 2005. Unanimous national player of the year Cat Osterman paced the nation in 2006 in ERA (0.37) and strikeouts per seven innings, setting an NCAA record with her 15.4 mark. Last season sophomore Meagan Denny posted 17 wins of her own and posted a 1.57 ERA, while her 9.6 strikeouts per seven innings ranked 18th nationally.
Three years prior, the 2003 pitching staff led the nation with a 0.61 earned run average, anchored by Osterman and sophomore All-Big 12 selection Amy Bradford. That year, Osterman led the nation in both ERA (0.37) and strikeouts per seven innings (14.1).
In 2002, both Osterman and Bradford were among the national leaders in nearly every pitching category. The staff had the ninth-best ERA in the nation (1.12), while Osterman had the ninth-best individual ERA (0.83) and Bradford the 24th-best (1.01). Osterman led Division I in victories with 36 and broke onto the collegiate scene by leading the nation in strikeouts per seven innings (12.7). Bradford was ranked 14th in the nation in saves with five, the fifth-highest total in Division I.
Since arriving in Austin, Looper coached Osterman to three All-America honors and a pair of National Player of the Year awards, as well as a spot on the gold-medal winning 2004 U.S. Olympic Team. Looper has also helped mold three All-Big 12 Conference pitching selections (Osterman, Bradford, Charla Moore) and one catching selection (Megan Willis).
Before joining the Longhorns, Looper served as an assistant softball coach at the University of Kansas for three seasons (1997-99), helping head coach Tracy Bunge guide the Jayhawks to two NCAA Tournament appearances (1997, 1999). In 1999, the Kansas squad went 31-30 overall and advanced to the semifinals of the Big 12 Conference Tournament, before earning a No. 2 regional seed in the NCAA Tournament. Kansas was one of seven Big 12 teams (of the 10 league teams that play softball) to earn a 1999 NCAA tourney berth.
Prior to her stint at Kansas, she spent the 1995-96 academic year at Iowa State as assistant coach under head coach Deb Kuhn.
A 1995 graduate of Florida State with a bachelor's degree in nutrition and fitness, Looper was a pitching standout for the Seminoles. Playing at FSU as a junior and senior, Looper earned All-America honors as a junior in 1993. She led Florida State to NCAA Tournament showings in 1993 and 1994, including a berth in the 1993 Women's College World Series. Looper gained NCAA Regional All-Tournament honors and All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in each of her two seasons in Tallahassee.
Looper's career earned run average of 0.78 at Florida State still stands as the fifth best in the Seminoles record books. Additionally, she led the 1993 and 1994 FSU squads in appearances, innings pitched, wins, strikeouts, and ERA. In 2003, Looper was also named one of the ACC's Top 50 softball players in the conference's history.
Prior to FSU, Looper competed for Crowder College in Neosho, Mo., where she was selected a National Junior College All-America as a freshman and sophomore and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Tournament's most valuable player during her sophomore campaign. Looper helped Crowder to second-place finishes at both the 1991 and 1992 national tournaments. Looper was inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame in 2006.