Cristal Brown was hired as the 8th head coach in Idaho State women's softball history. She comes to Pocatello after spending the last eight years as a Division III head coach at Whitworth.
She joined the Whitworth program in 2011 and after four seasons as head coach, Brown led the Pirates to three consecutive Northwest Conference regular season titles (2015-17). The 2015 season was the program's first-ever NWC regular season championship title as the team had an overall record of 31-12 and 21-7 in conference play which was a (then) school record for most victories in a season.
Following the 2016 NWC championship title, Brown led the program to their first NCAA Division III regional tournament appearance. The 2017 season would be the Pirates third consecutive NWC regular season championship, the first NWC tournament championship, and their second consecutive NCAA post-season tournament appearance. Whitworth went 2-2 in the NCAA regional tournament, earning the school's first NCAA tournament victories and an overall season record of 37-12. With this outstanding performance, Brown was selected the conference Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017.
During the 2018 season, the Pirates finished third in the conference with a 24-18 overall record and went 17-11 in conference play. In 2019, Brown led the program to a strong second place finish going 31-11 overall and 23-5 in the NWC.
In addition to her coaching duties, Brown was also the faculty representative for the university's SAAC program which involves student athletes in NCAA legislation and also many community service events. She emphasizes academic excellence as the program earned top 10 GPA in the nation in 2015 and top three in 2016.
In her combined eight years at Whitworth, Brown led her team to seven consecutive winning seasons and an overall record of 221 wins and 124 losses.
Through her first seven years, Brown had 30 players named All-Northwest Conference and 15 players receive NFCA All-Region honors. In 2016 Whitworth posted the third-highest team GPA in all of NCAA DIII softball and had 14 players recognized as scholar-athletes by the NFCA. In 2015 Megan John became the first CoSIDA Division III softball Academic All-American in school history.
Before her exceptional career at Whitworth, Brown was the head coach at Kingsburg High School for four seasons (2008-2011) in Kingsburg, California. During her time there, the Vikings went 101-29, won four Central Sequoia League championships, won a Central Section (CIF) crown in 2008, finished as Central Section runner-ups in 2009, and was a three-time Central Sequoia League Coach of the Year honoree.
Her coaching experience includes two seasons as the assistant varsity coach at Valencia High School where they were ranked number one in the nation as well as a two year stint as an assistant coach with The Master's College helping them attain a top 25 national ranking.
Brown was raised in California and is a former small-college All-American. She was an intimidating left-handed leadoff batter who utilized her wide range of skills. She could hit for power and also had the ability to slap her way on base using her speed. She was the Western State Conference Junior College Player of the Year in 1998 at Bakersfield JC before earning Second Team NAIA All-America honors at Azusa Pacific in 2000. During her time at Azusa she set single season records for games played (68), at-bats (234) and stolen bases (40 out of 44). Brown helped lead the Cougars to a 53-15 record, a GSAC crown and a runner-up finish at the NAIA national championship.
She received her Bachelor of Arts in History in 2001 from The Master's College in Santa Clarita California and went on to receive her Masters of Arts in Coaching and Athletic Admin in 2011 from Concordia University in Irvine, California.