Softball Coaching Staff
Kelli Zache returns for her second season as the head softball coach at Saint Mary's in the 2014-15 academic year.
During her first season at the helm of the program, Zache led the Belles to their ninth season in-a-row of winning at least half of their games. She also coached a player to First Team All-MIAA and First Team All-Region honors in 2014.
A native of Niles, Michigan, Zache was a two-time first team all-state selection at Brandywine High School. She went on to play three seasons at Western Michigan University before finishing her career at Bethel College. While at Western Michigan, she threw a one-hit shutout win against Virginia.
In her final season at Bethel, she was a three-time Mid-Central Conference Pitcher of the Week and was a first team all-conference selection. She posted a 22-5 record in the circle with a 1.77 ERA in 166.1 innings pitched. A first team all-region pitcher, she was named to the NCCAA All-Tournament Team at Nationals while also earning NCCAA All-American honors.
Zache has gained coaching experience at the University of Notre Dame's summer camps and served as an assistant coach at both Bethel College and St. Joseph High School. She was also an ASA certified umpire from 2008 to 2012.
Zache is a 2011 graduate of Bethel College where she earned bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Debra Burton joins the Saint Mary’s softball coaching staff for the 2014-15 academic year after a strong collegiate playing career.
A four-year starting catcher at Davenport University, Burton was part of three Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) regular season championships and three WHAC tournament championships. The Panthers earned their first ever bid to the NAIA national tournament in Burton’s freshman season after claiming both the regular season and tournament titles.
After a regular season conference championship in 2012, the Panthers returned to the NAIA national tournament in both 2013 and 2014 after winning the WHAC tournament. During Burton’s senior campaign, Davenport claimed both the regular season and tournament championships for the second time in her career while making it to the top 16 of the national tournament.
Over her four years, Burton was named a WHAC player of the week, was tabbed as First Team All-WHAC, and was a Second Team All-Region honoree while helping the Panthers to a 147-51-2 overall record and a 61-11 mark in conference games.
A two-time team MVP and three-time all-conference selection at Edwardsburg High School, Burton earned a degree in sports management from Davenport University in the spring of 2014.
Larry Vaznonis is in his first season as an assistant softball coach at Saint Mary’s in the 2014-15 academic year.
Vaznonis brings a wealth of teaching and coaching experience to the Belles. A physical education and health teacher, he has simultaneously taught and coached throughout much of his professional career. From 2000 to 2008, Vaznonis coached softball and baseball.
A two-sport student-athlete in college, Vaznonis was a successful baseball and basketball athlete at Purdue University Calumet and has since earned the university’s Bob Hayes Athletic Alumni Award. He was a four-time all-conference outfielder for the Pipers while also earning an all-conference nod in basketball. In 1975, he posted better than a .500 batting average on his way to earning the conference batting title. In 2005, Vaznonis was inducted into the City of Hammond, Indiana Sports Hall of Fame.
A 1977 graduate of Purdue University Calumet, Vaznonis earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health. He currently teaches in the South Bend Community School Corporation.