UIC Athletic Director Jim Schmidt announced the hiring of Lynn Curylo (kur-ILL-oh) as head coach of the Flames’ softball team on July 18, 2016, pending Board of Trustees approval. Curylo, a proud UIC alumna, will be the seventh head coach in program history dating back to the start of the Division I era in 1981.
As a UIC student-athlete, Curylo starred as an outfielder from 1994-97. She was a member of the Hall of Fame 1994 squad that posted 56 victories and made it all the way to Oklahoma City with the program’s sole Women’s College World Series berth. All told, she was an integral part of 201 victories over four years and the Flames won nearly 73 percent of the time they took the field during that era. Curylo and her UIC teammates posted an eye-popping 58-3 mark in conference play while winning one Mid-Continent Conference championship (1994) and two Midwestern Collegiate Conference (MCC) crowns (1996 & 1997), which is now the Horizon League.
Individually, Curylo’s name remains prominently dotted throughout the UIC record book today. She was a two-time All-MCC First Team selection as an outfielder, earning back-to-back recognitions in 1996 and 1997. She played in all 80 of the team’s games in 1997, which ties Curylo for eighth on the program’s single-season list. She hit 12 triples in four seasons for the Flames, good for sixth on the all-time list. Half of those three-base hits (6) came in 1996, placing her tied for seventh on that single-season chart.
Liz Beirne joined the UIC softball staff as an assistant coach in Sept. 2016 after spending two years as an assistant under head coach Lynn Curylo at Wright State.
In her time at Wright State, Beirne worked with the pitching staff, aiding in the development of all-Horizon League hurlers Ashley Sharp and Montana Wear, who combined in 2015 and 2016 for 50 wins, 283 strikeouts, 10 shutouts and a 2.15 ERA. The Raiders went 60-56 and 31-13 in conference play in her two years, reaching the championship game in the Horizon League Tournament both seasons.
Prior to WSU, Beirne served as an assistant for six seasons at Georgia Southern, where she coached the pitchers to five Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year honors, including three consecutive for Sarah Purvis. The Eagles additionally had five NFCA All-Region Second Team selections and one SoCon Freshman of the Year accolade during her tenure. With the help of Beirne, Purvis went down in the NCAA record book with three perfect games and six no-hitters. The Eagles won the SoCon regular season title in 2012 and 2014 and the tournament crown in 2012 and 2013.
Katie O’Connell joined the Flames as an assistant coach in Sept. 2016 following six seasons on the staff at Illinois alongside former head coach and UIC alum Terri Sullivan.
In six seasons as an assistant at Illinois, O’Connell helped the team amass a record of 174-126, including 14 wins over ranked opponents, and post a record of 68-59 in Big Ten play. The Illini had repeat appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 2009 and 2010, during a time that featured 74 victories.
O’Connell helped Illinois to a No. 25 ranking in the USA Today/NFCA Final Poll in 2010 in the process of coaching the team to three NFCA All-America nods in Danielle Zymkowitz (2009, 2011) and Meredith Hackett (2010), 10 NFCA All-Region accolades and 17 All-Big Ten honors.