Sam Houston State alumna Tori Rivera joined the staff as an assistant coach in August 2018.
Rivera serves as the hitting coach, instructs the Bearkat outfield and coordinates team travel. Rivera assisted the Bearkats in winning the 2019 Southland Conference regular-season and tournament championships by coaching a first-team all-conference outfielder and five all-conference hitters.
Formerly Tori Benavidez, Rivera coached alongside previous head coach Bob Brock and Valis from 2014 to 2015. She was responsible for conducting outfield workouts and assisting left-handed hitters and slappers.
Rivera returned to SHSU after serving as the head softball coach and physical education instructor at North Zulch High School, where she led the Bulldogs to a playoff run.
Rivera coached the Texas Travelers travel ball club and also served as a baseball instructor and RBI softball coach for the Texas Rangers Baseball Club and helped with instruction in the beginning stages of the Urban Youth Academy.
Rivera completed her career as a Bearkat outfielder as Sam Houston’s second all-time leading hitter with a four-year .358 batting average.
The standout started in centerfield from 2010 to 2013 and was named the Southland Conference Softball Student-Athlete of the Year following her senior season.
Rivera also earned 2013 Southland Conference Player of the Year and Hitter of the Year honors after leading the league in runs scored (51), total hits (52), total bases (117) and stolen bases (22) while taking second in batting average (.406) and at-bats (202).
The first-team all-conference selection earned all-tournament laurels after leading the Bearkats to the championship game of the 2013 Southland tournament and was named to the NCAA Central All-Region Team.
A native of Midlothian, Texas, Rivera graduated cum laude with a 3.50 GPA in general business with a minor in kinesiology and entrepreneurship and was the first Southland Conference softball Student-Athlete of the Year from SHSU. She obtained her master’s degree in sports management in 2014 with a 4.0 GPA from SHSU.
Rivera married her husband, Stevyn, in 2015 and the two welcomed their daughter, Spencer, in 2018.
Tess Soefje is in her first season as Sam Houston State's pitching and catching coach.
Soefje (Sef-gee) spent the 2019 season as a volunteer assistant coach at Illinois where she worked with the Fighting Illini pitchers and catchers. She is also the Bearkats’ recruiting coordinator.
Before joining the staff at Illinois, Soefje spent two years as a graduate student at Ole Miss. She worked with pitchers and catchers, and as a former collegiate player at UTSA, she helped mentor players with mental preparation for games and off-the-field issues of college softball.
While at Ole Miss, Soefje also coordinated apparel and equipment management, assisted with the director of operations on game day and recruiting events and assisted with managing team travel.
Soefje was a three-year starter at catcher for the Roadrunners after transferring from Houston. She hit 20 home runs in 152 career starts and ended her career as the NCAA record holder for hits-by-pitch per game.
The Frisco native was a National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American Scholar and was named to the Conference USA Honor Roll at both UTSA and Houston. She graduated from UTSA with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2016 and also earned a bachelor’s degree in integrated marketing communications from the University of Mississippi in 2018.