Head Coach Garrett Valis
Garrett Valis was named head coach of the Sam Houston State softball program on May 11, 2018, after serving four seasons as the Bearkats' top assistant coach. Valis is the ninth head coach in program history.
In his first season, Valis guided the Bearkats to their first Southland Conference regular-season title since 1993 and the program’s fourth overall on his way to being named the league’s Coach of the Year. SHSU also won the Southland Conference Tournament championship, the first time the program has won both league titles in the same season.
The Bearkats advanced to the Austin Regional of the NCAA Tournament where they shocked No. 9 Texas with a 2-1 victory in the opening round.
SHSU’s 35 wins are the most since 2013 and the 22-5 SLC record is the program’s best since 1993. The Bearkats also set a program record for consecutive wins at 13 since moving up to the Division I level in 1988.
In 2019, SHSU had seven players named all-conference, including SLC Player and Pitcher of the Year Lindsey McLeod, who was also named to the 2019 National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Central Region third team.
With the help of Valis, the Bearkats have made the Southland Conference Tournament six out of the last seven years.
While with Sam Houston he has handled duties as recruiting coordinator and worked directly with the Bearkat hitters. In 2018, he helped four Bearkat hitters earn postseason honors and in four years has seen 11 hitters be named all-conference.
In 2017, he tutored All-SLC infielder Tori Koerselman and helped the Kats to a .277 team batting average, a mark that ranked fourth in the league. Sam Houston finished the 2016 season ranked near the top of the league in several offensive categories including fourth in batting average (.287), fourth in hits (392) and fourth in slugging percentage (.406).
Prior to Sam Houston, Valis served as the head coach for the Austin Storm Gold Under-18 team in Austin. He coached the outfielders and assist with hitting at Texas State in 2009.
Previously, Valis was an assistant coach at Concordia University from 2005 to 2008 where he was in charge of hitting and outfielders. He also was an assistant coach for the Houston Power Under-18 Gold Select team in 2003 and 2004.
Valis played third base and outfield at Ranger College from 2002 through 2004.
He holds a master’s degree from Texas State in physical education with a specialization in exercise science. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas in Austin in 2007 where he was a kinesiology major.
Valis is a graduate of Saint Paul High School in Shiner, Texas. His twin sisters Haley and Jessica played softball at the University of Houston. Valis is married to the former Angela Shimek, also of Shiner. The couple welcomed their daughter, Harper Faye, into the world following the 2017 season.