Finishes 32 career in high school softball as winningest coach in Missouri at 515-92
Softball has been a way of life for Prairie Home graduate Kelly Odneal.
After graduating from Prairie Home in 1970 with a class of 13 students, Odneal grew up playing high school softball because then the Panthers didn’t have baseball.
But little did he know that while playing softball during the school year and baseball during the summer in Babe Ruth that he would actually coach softball for 32 years-mostly at Westran High School and Jamestown High School
As it turned out, Odneal is now the winningest high school softball coach in Missouri history at 515-92 from 1975-2007.
Odneal was recently inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame along with Mark Bailey (Missouri State University/Houston Astros), late Glasgow native John Donaldson (Negro Leagues), Springfield native and longtime sports writer Rob Rains and baseball coach Mark Stratton (Glendale High School/Drury University).
Overall, Odneal’s softball teams made 15 trips to the state semifinals and won state titles at Westran in 1987, 1996 and 1999 while placing second eight times, third three times and fourth once. He also won 19 district championships and 21 Lewis and Clark Conference titles at Westran.
In baseball, Odneal’s teams were a combined 338-123 at Sturgeon and Westran. Two Sturgeon teams won state titles in 1980 and 1982, with three Westran teams reaching the state semifinals in 1986, 1989 and 1990.
In addition to being inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, Odneal also initiated the development of the Missouri High School Fastpitch Coaches Association in 2001 and served as president from 2004-2007. He was also an inaugural member inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.
Odneal also served six years on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association to select the central district All-American candidates to the National High School All-American teams. He has also served on the MSHSAA softball advisory committee, received MSHSAA Distinquished Service Award in 2002 and had the softball field at Westran High School named in his honor in 2008 while having his uniform retired.
In addition to being a Mizzou grad in 1975 with a MEd in 1978, Odneal has also had 30 players play college fastpitch from All-Big 12 at Mizzou to community colleges. Nine of his former players have also coached school fastpitch.