Staff
Head Coach
Kelly Ford

Kelly Ford, who has enjoyed success as a collegiate athlete, community college head coach, and a Division I head coach, enters her seventh season as the head coach of the softball program at Cal State Fullerton for 2018-19.

Coming off a back-to-back Big West Championships, Coach Ford and the Titans went into the 2018 season looking for a third consecutive crown and accomplished it. Fullerton went 18-3 (35-25 overall) en route to their 11th Big West title and made their 28th NCAA Regional appearance.

The team was well represented in the end of the year Big West accolades, including Coach Ford winning Co-Coach of the Year making her the only coach in Big West history to win the award in three consecutive seasons. She saw nine of her players earn Big West honors; four on the First Team, four on the Second Team, one Honorable Mention, and one Freshman Team selection.

After a historic season in 2016, Coach Ford and the Titans made some more history in 2017 as they became back-to-back Big West champions for the first time since 2000-03. With the title in hand, they made their 27th NCAA Division I Softball Regional appearance in Los Angeles.

The championship season came with a lot of individual accolades, including coach Ford winning her second consecutive Big West Coach of the Year. It also included eight players earning Big West honors, three of which were spots on the first team.

Overall, the team finished 35-23 including a magical conference run where they won 12 consecutive games against their Big West opponents. They finished 16-5 in conference, only 1 win shy of the mark they put the year before.

In her fourth season with the Titans, Ford made the 2015-16 season her best yet as she led Fullerton to its first Big West Conference title in 10 years, its 26th NCAA Division I Softball Championship appearance and first regional appearance since 2009 and 45 victories which is the most since 2002.

The historic season lead to a number of accolades for the 2015-16 Titan softball program as they took four of the six major conference awards. Seniors Missy Taukeiaho and Desiree Ybarra took home Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, while Sydney Golden was named Freshman Pitcher of the Year and coach Ford was named Coach of the Year.

Nine Fullerton players were also named to the all-conference team with five of those nine earning a spot on the first team.

Statistically, Ford and the rest of the Titan coaching staff continued to make steady improvements in key departments as Fullerton finished the year with a .300 batting average for only the fifth time in program history, had 699 total bases which is the most since 2002 and stole 85 bases for the second-most in program history.

Defensively, the Titans pitching staff was putting up video game-like numbers last year as they finished the season with a 2.22 ERA and 13 shutouts which were the best in those categories since 2007. Also, the fielding continues to be top-notch as Fullerton has finished three of the past four seasons with a .970 fielding percentage or higher, including setting the program record in 2015 with a .975 FLD%.

Ford is the third head coach in the Titans 35-year softball history (Garman, Gromacki) and began her duties at Cal State Fullerton after serving 11 seasons (2002-12) as the head coach at Mount San Antonio Junior College in Walnut, Calif.

Ford guided the Mt. SAC program to four California State Championships (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009), seven South Coast Conference Championships (2003-08, 2001) and has earned South Coach Conference Coach of the Year honors five times. Ford's 11-year career at the community college ends with a staggering 455-102-1 (.816) record.

Ford, who worked with Cal State Fullerton as an assistant coach in 2000 and 2001, brings nine years of experience as an assistant coach at the Division I level, adding time spent at Cal State Northridge with a year (1993) at her alma mater, Oklahoma.

The native of Portland, Oregon played two NJCAA National Championship seasons at Central Arizona College for Clint Myers (now at Auburn University) in 1988 and 1989 before her career with the Sooners under then Head Coach, Jim Beitia. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Oklahoma University in 1992 and earned a master's degree from Azusa Pacific University in Physical Education with an emphasis in Coaching. She has a three-year-old daughter, Sarah.

Associate Head Coach
Jorge Araujo

Jorge Araujo enters his seventh season with the Titans and his third as the associate head coach on the Cal State Fullerton softball staff in 2018-19, where he will continue to be the recruiting coordinator and defensive specialist for the team.

"I am honored to name Jorge Araujo the associate head coach of Cal State Fullerton," Ford said. "He has been with me since the beginning of my tenure as a Titan. I have the utmost respect for Coach Araujo. I would want my daughter to play for him. He is a character man that has an immense respect for the female athlete."

Since becoming part of the Fullerton softball staff, Araujo has made fielding a crucial part of the Titans success as the 2015 squad broke the team fielding percentage record by finishing the year with a .975 fielding percentage.

In fact, the Titans have finished with a fielding percentage of at least .968 or higher in five of Araujo’s six seasons with the program.

"When Coach (Araujo) and I came on board in 2012, Cal State Fullerton was ranked No. 199 in the country and the most recent RPI poll has us at No. 25. Coach Araujo has been an integral part of the 174-point jump. I am excited to develop the next chapter with Coach Araujo and I thank him for his dedication to Titan Athletics," Ford said.

In 2018, Cal State Fullerton made history once again winning their third consecutive Big West Championship. The season included nine players earning conference honors, four of which were on the First Team.

In 2017, Fullerton followed up their historic 2016 campaign with more history as they became back-to-back Big West champions for the first time since 2000-03. The season included eight player earning conference honors, three of which were spots on the first team.

In 2016, the Titans broke new barriers the program hasn’t seen in years as they finished the season with 45 victories, a Big West Conference title (first since 2006) and a spot in the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2009. Also, Cal State Fullerton softball received four of the six major conference awards as Missy Taukeiaho was the Player of the Year, Desiree Ybarra was Pitcher of the Year, Sydney Golden was Freshman Pitcher of the Year and coach Ford was named Coach of the Year. The program also had eight combined all-conference selections to the first and second team in 2016, while also having two players named to the honorable mention and all-freshman team.

"I'm really happy to have coach Araujo as one of our leaders because his determination to win can be truly contagious," said Taukeiaho. "He pushes us to compete at the highest level in our quest for a conference championship and his direction can only help us be better every single day."

In his first season in 2013, Araujo helped the Titans close out the season winning 13 of their final 15 games, while finishing third in the Big West with a 28-28 overall record. With his help assisting the defense, Fullerton committed only 48 errors, the least amount in that category in program history.

Araujo was a part of the softball Mexican National Team coaching staff, responsible for the development of the defense while leading drills and practices. The team competed in the Canadian Open Fast Pitch Invitational (July 15-21) in Surrey, B.C., picking up a victory over the Bloomington Lady Hearts, 7-2. Prior to the tournament in Canada, Team Mexico participated in the General Tire World Cup of Softball IX (July 7-13) in Irvine, Calif., finishing fifth among the seven-team field with victories over the Philippines, 7-0, and Venezuela, 1-0.

Araujo served as a head coach for the Lakewood Firecrackers 18U-Gold squad in 2008-12 following six years as a head coach with the Lakewood Ladies Junior Olympic squad from 2003-08. During his tenure with the Firecrackers, Araujo helped lead the club to the ASA National Championship in 2008, a 2012 Triple Crown USA national title, and three ASA California State Championships.

He was also a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District from 2007-12, also acting as the head varsity coach at Maywood Academy High School in Maywood, Calif., leading the Nighthawks to the City Section finals in 2012.

Collegiately, Araujo played two seasons of baseball at nearby Cal Poly Pomona as an infielder in 1988-89 after transferring from Rio Hondo Junior College. He graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a bachelor's degree in 1992.

Assistant Coach
Dallas Escobedo

Escobedo enters her second season with Cal State Fullerton after enjoying a successful first year as the Assistant Coach. She coached her pitching staff to a 3.27 ERA in nearly 400 innings of work. Two of her pitchers also went on to earn Big West honors at the end of the season as Parks and Frost were Second Team selections.

She joined the Titan family following her fourth season in the National Pro Fastpitch League and in the midst of training to be on the Olympic team for the sport's grand return in 2020. She will serve primarily as a pitching coach for the team as well as assist in recruiting.

Escobedo has previously served as a Graduate Assistant Manager for Arizona State from 2015-2017. She also acted as the Assistant Coach at Scottsdale Community College where she had full control of the pitching staff. She was also the assistant coach at Desert Edge High School where she worked with the varsity team as the primary pitching coach.

The right-hander was taken as the number one overall pick in the NPF Draft in 2014 to the Pennsylvania Rebellion where she played for three seasons before signing with the Texas Charge in January of 2016.

Prior to being drafted, Escobedo was one of the best pitchers to ever throw for Arizona State University. She finished her career as one of the most decorated Sun Devils in history, including a national championship in 2011 and three trips to the Women's College World Series. She was an All-American three times, a NFCA All-Region Team member three times, and an All-Pac 12 Team member four times among many other accolades.

In her four years in Tempe, she threw 173 games and owns a collegiate career 2.01 ERA. She ranks second all-time in wins (115) and strikeouts (1,222) in Sun Devil history and threw three no-hitters in college including the first and only one in ASU postseason history. She also holds the fourth, fifth and sixth highest strikeout totals in a single season in the program's history.

Escobedo will take on a pitching staff that sported a 2.69 earned run average, .238 batting average against, and 342 strikeouts in 409 innings last season.

Volunteer Assistant Coach
Caitlin Grimes

“Curly” returns for her third season with the Titans after joining Cal State Fullerton for the 2017 season. She serves as the coach of the offense for Titan softball.

Grimes started her coaching career at North Texas working with the bullpen as well as the hitters from 2012-2013. She then left her alma mater and went on to be the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach and Director of Operations for the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana Lafayette where she won the Sun Belt Conference and made it all the way to the Super Regionals before falling to Auburn.

In 2015, she came back home and served as the Director of Operations for Titan Softball before becoming the Volunteer Assistant Coach last season. She has been instrumental in working with the offense as well as the pitchers and catchers as a part of the back-to-back conference championship teams.

As a player, Grimes saw a lot of success. In 2012, the North Texas alum started all 55 games at catcher for the Mean Green. She finished third on the team with a .317 bating average and second with 10 home runs and 32 RBI. She was named to the All-Tournament Team for the Fairfield Inn and Suites Classic as well as the Sun Belt Conference Co-Player of the Week. She graduated from North Texas ranking fifth all-time in career RBI, sixth in career home runs, tenth in total bases, and sixth on the single-season home run list. She was named to the Dean’s List and Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll as well.

Prior to college, she played at Arcadia High School and was named team MVP in her senior year. She earned All-Pacific League First Team honors in all four seasons at Arcadia and helped lead her team to two league championships while there batting over.500 in her sophomore, junior, and senior campaigns.

Born in Arcadia, Caitlin is the daughter of John and Sylvia Grimes. She has one brother, Sean, and one sister, Mackenzie who currently plays on the Titans.