Alumna returns to lead softball team
UIC alumna Lynn Curylo will return to campus as head coach of the softball team, becoming the seventh head coach in program history.
“I am extremely excited to be back where my decision to become a coach was made, where I played college ball and where I earned my degree,” Curylo said. “This is home for me.
“While it saddens me to leave Wright State, I am honored and thankful for the opportunity Jim Schmidt, Tonya McGowan, and the UIC administration has given me.”
As a 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 to Oklahoma City with the program’s sole Women’s College World Series berth. 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 crowns (1996 & 1997), which is now the Horizon League.
Curylo’s name remains prominently dotted throughout the UIC record book. She was a two-time All-MCC First Team selection as an outfielder, earning back-to-back recognition 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, 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.
“Bringing Lynn back to UIC was a priority,” said Schmidt, UIC athletic director. “She is a rising star who has proven she can lead a program. Lynn played for a great coach at UIC in Mike McGovern at the beginning of a run of excellence that is unparalleled in our history. Her work with Coach Terri Sullivan at Illinois added to her skillset.
“Lynn Curylo has great energy and is the ultimate competitor. UIC alumni, fans and our excellent group of returning players won’t find a more dedicated Flame than Lynn.”
“Of the many special student-athletes I have had the privilege of coaching, as well as the talented people I have met in college athletics,
Curylo is competitive, driven and hard-working, said Terri Sullivan, former UIC assistant coach and architect of the University of Illinois’ softball program.
“Because of such qualities, she excels at helping student-athletes realize their own potential in all areas of their lives,” Sullivan said. “Lynn personally thrives on the opportunity to be challenged to be at her best, so no one ever out-worked her as a player, and no one will as a coach.”
For the last six seasons, Curylo has served as the head coach of the Wright State Raiders. Since 2011, she was at the helm for 147 victories, including 77 in Horizon League play. No other head softball coach in WSU history won more conference games than Curylo. The Raiders won 18 Horizon League games in 2016, the most in one season by any group. The team’s 37 total victories also marked the best single-season output in program history.
In each of the last two seasons, the native Chicagoan positioned Wright State within one win of an NCAA Tournament berth by reaching the championship of the Horizon League Tournament. During her tenure five Raiders earned All-Horizon League First Team recognition and 14 student athletes received Second Team nods.
“Having seen the Flames up close recently, I am well aware of the talented student-athletes that make up the current roster,” Curylo said. “I look forward to meeting the group, to assembling a staff, and to continuing a tradition of graduating student athletes who will make all those that have graduated before them, and the University of Illinois at Chicago proud.”
Curylo worked for two years as an assistant coach at the University of Illinois. The Fighting Illini went 74-25 during her time in Champaign from 2009-10, and the club won 28 Big Ten games. In Curylo’s second season, Illinois won 45 games overall while posting a 16-2 mark in conference play. That group finished second at the NCAA Columbia Regional.
Curylo’s first stint as a collegiate coach came when she worked as an assistant coach at Tennessee State from 2007-08. She helped make an immediate impact on that program as the Tigers won 35 games en route to the first winning season in program history.
She cut her coaching teeth at the high school level as the head coach at Milikan High School in Long Beach, California, from 2001-06. Curylo was named the Coach of the Year in 2005 after the Rams won the California Interscholastic Federation championship.
Curylo, who was born and raised a Cubs fan on Chicago’s northwest side, graduated from UIC in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. She attended Resurrection College Prep High School in the city’s Norwood Park neighborhood. In 2015 she was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.