Waterford's Mullins retires after 31 seasons as UConn softball coach

After coaching the softball program at her alma mater for 31 years, UConn's Karen Mullins is retiring.

Mullins, a 1973 Waterford High School graduate who took over at UConn in 1984, announced her retirement Monday. She led the Huskies to eight NCAA tournament appearances, including a trip to the College World Series in 1993, and finished with a career record of 862-636-5.

Mullins, who spent two seasons at Division III Nichols College in Dudley, Mass. after graduating from UConn in 1979, is one of fewer than 50 coaches in college softball history to win 800 or more career games.

"I want to thank the university for the opportunity to return and coach at my alma mater," Mullins said in a statement released by the UConn athletic department. "I was truly blessed to have had that opportunity and it was an incredible ride. I want to thank all my former and present players and assistant coaches for their commitment and contributions to the UConn legacy."

Mullins played basketball and softball at UConn and was awarded a UConn Senior Athletic Medallion when she graduated with a degree in physical education (she received her master's degree in sports management a year later in 1980).

The Huskies made five straight NCAA tournament appearances (1989-93), capped by the World Series trip, and last made it to the postseason in 2001. UConn also won four Big East Conference regular-season titles and seven tournament championships during her tenure and produced nine All-Americans.

She is a member of the Waterford Athletic Hall of Fame and the Connecticut Scholastic and Collegiate Softball Hall of Fame.

"Karen Mullins has had an incredible career here at UConn and on behalf of the entire university, I want to congratulate her and thank her for three decades of service," athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement. "Her student-athletes were successful both on the field of play, in the classroom and in the community.

"Karen's dedication to the sport of softball and to UConn is recognized across the country."

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