Former Oklahoma All-American Jessica Shults will join the Houston Softball coaching staff as assistant coach, head coach Kristin Vesely announced Tuesday afternoon.
“Jessica’s passion for the game is contagious. At Oklahoma, she has won a national championship as a player as well as a staff member. Her experience with winning tradition the past few years, will be a huge value to our staff,” Vesely said. “She will have an immediate impact on working with our catchers and I expect to see their skills grow tremendously. Jessica will also play a big part in our Cougar offense. I expect great things and couldn’t be happier with the addition to the staff.”
Shults comes to Houston after spending two seasons as a graduate assistant with the 2016 National Champions Oklahoma Softball team. She will be responsible for the catchers and play a vital role in the Cougars offense.
“I am excited to be a part of the University of Houston softball program. I am looking forward to making this city my new home. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to working alongside Coach Vesely and Coach Gibson-Loftin,” Shults said.
With the Sooners, Shults was one of the most tenured members behind Head Coach Patty Gasso and assistant Melyssa Lombardi. She helped with all aspects of training while also running the team’s social media accounts. She also handled film analysis and was in charge of the student managers.
She joined the Sooner staff after completing her illustrious collegiate career as a Sooner with a national title in 2013.
Following her collegiate career, Shults played three years for the USSSA pride after she was selected fourth overall in the 2013 National Pro Fastpitch draft.
Shults was a three-time NFCA All-American and a three-time all-central region selection. She also earned two All-Big 12 first team selections and a second team selection in her career and was named to the 2010 Big 12 Championship All-Tournament team her freshman season.
The North Hollywood, Calif., native earned a spot on the United States Women’s National Team in 2011 and 2012. Shults helped Team USA to a silver medal at the 2012 International Softball Federation (ISF) XIII Women’s World Fastpitch Championship as she scored four runs and tallied three RBIs. She also earned a gold medal with Team USA at the 2012 World Cup of Softball.
Shults played club ball for the prestigious Tony Rico Firecrackers, one of the largest club programs in the nation. She helped the team finish third at 2009 ASA 18U GOLD National Championship, the 2008 Colorado Fireworks championship, the ASA national championship and the Canada Cup title in 2007. The team also participated in the 2009 Canada Cup and the 2008 Champions Cup.
The Sooner standout started in all 228 games played behind the plate and posted a .348 batting average in her four-year career.
During her junior year (2012), Shults led the team with 74 hits and had 24 mult-hit games and recorded 18 multi-RBI games. Her home run total of 20 during the season tied for second-most in school history. She also set a school record for putouts by a catcher with 620 on the season. During the postseason, Shults hit two home runs, including a grand slam, to lead the Sooners over Oregon State (5/20) to advance OU to the NCAA Super Regional.
Halfway through her sophomore season, Shults was diagnosed with pan ulcerative colitis, but she didn’t let the diagnosis stop her fight as she returned June 4 to help the Sooners to their second National Championship.