Aug. 8, 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Kaleigh Rafter, a member of the Canadian National Team, has joined the Virginia softball coaching staff as an assistant coach it was announced on Monday by first-year head coach Joanna Hardin.
Rafter, who joins the Cavaliers after spending the 2016 season as an assistant coach at Buffalo, will serve as the offensive coordinator and work with the catchers and infielders.
“I am thrilled to have Kaleigh Rafter on our staff,” Hardin said. “Not only does she have a great softball mind, but she brings a high level of playing and coaching experience. She fits the values and standards of the University of Virginia and our softball program. She’s a fantastic addition to our staff and elevates the program.”
Last season at Buffalo, Rafter helped coach a pair of Bulls to All-MAC honors and utility player Savanna Norcio to NFCA All-Region honors. Norcio hit .382 with a .618 slugging percentage that included 17 doubles, two triples and five home runs to lead the Buffalo offense.
“I could not be happier to be joining the University of Virginia family and the softball program,” Rafter said. “I was blown away by the University and its commitment to excellence both on and off the field. I would especially like to thank Coach Hardin and the administration, including Craig Littlepage and Valerie Richardson, for giving me this opportunity and the confidence they have shown in me. I look forward to growing this program into a national contender.”
A decorated player with the Canadian National Team, Rafter began her collegiate playing career at Detroit Mercy in 2006. Through her three-year career with the Titans, she was twice named Horizon League Player of the Year and an All-Region selection by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Following her junior season at Detroit, Rafter took a redshirt year to compete with the Canadian National Team in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.
In the 2008 Olympic Games, Rafter helped lead Canada to a fourth-place finish and kicked off her career with the Canadian Women’s National Team.
Following the 2008 Olympics, Rafter returned to finish her collegiate playing career at Florida State, helping lead the Seminoles to a 44-16 record and an NCAA Regional appearance. Rafter was named an All-ACC first-team selection and an NFCA All-Region selection for the third time as Florida State finished as ACC runner-up in 2009.
Rafter then returned to compete with the Canadian team, serving as one of the top home run threats for the squad. In international competition, she was a member of the 2010 ISF World Championship team that won a bronze medal. She also competed in the Pan American Games, claiming a silver medal in both 2007 and 2011. Rafter also competed with the 2012 and 2014 ISF World Championship teams. Both squads finished fourth at the World Championships.
She has also competed professionally for Honda in the Japanese Professional Softball League.
Rafter holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology and master’s degrees in criminology and sports management from Florida State.