UF softball assistant Rocha accepts position at Oklahoma

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Florida starting pitcher Kelly Barnhill (11) talks with pitching coach Jennifer Rocha during a game against Oklahoma State in the 2017 NCAA Softball Championship in Gainesville Saturday May 20, 2017. The Gators won 2-0 to move into Sunday's game needing one win to move on. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Special to Gatorsports.com

UF softball assistant coach Jennifer Rocha has accepted the position of associate head coach with the University of Oklahoma, UF announced Wednesday.

Rocha spent the last 13 seasons as an assistant coach in Gainesville and was elevated to associate head coach on June 15, 2017.

“Spending 19 of the past 20 years sharing the same dugout with a person I call a true professional and a friend has been a wonderful opportunity,” UF coach Tim Walton said in a UF release. “We’ve had many terrific memories on and off the field. Jennifer, Paul and baby Ellie have been like family to us. We are definitely wishing the Rocha family all of our best.”

Rocha, named the 2015 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year, has been with Walton and the Gators every step of the way during the program’s rise to national prominence. Rocha has overseen the development of the Gators pitching staff, which has turned into one of the most dominant in the country.

The Gators led the nation in team ERA (2009, ’16 & ’17) and she helped in the development of seven NFCA All-American pitchers and numerous UF pitching records.

“My family and I feel incredibly blessed to have spent the last 13 years at the University of Florida, participating in the growth and development of outstanding student-athletes.” Rocha said. “Words cannot adequately express my gratitude to Tim Walton, the Walton family, Scott Stricklin, Lynda Tealer and Jeremy Foley for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful community. Finally, I want to thank all those who contribute to making the Gators great including the UAA staff, all the equipment managers, the Gator Diamond Club and Gator Nation.”

8 COMMENTS

  1. Big loss for the Gators. They must have promised her she would be the next head coach at Oklahoma otherwise it would seem to be a lateral move but you cannot assume that. Oh well good luck to her. She sure did a great job at Florida and she deserves to be a head coach somewhere if not now in the near future. I am sure Coach Walton will find a good replacement. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of a great program like Florida.

  2. Wow, sideways move to our biggest rival for the national championship. Huge loss at our strongest position. How did the Sooners manage to hurt us at our greatest strength? They just found another way to beat us, just not on the field, … take away our strength!

  3. Rob your guess about being promised the next head coach job is the best logical guess I can see with the info in this article. Maybe she has family in that area that she wants to be closer to so they can see the baby grow up or maybe they are ill. ??