Brenda Stolle Born: October 9, 1959 (Topeka, KS)
Graduated: Silver Lake High School, 1977; Emporia State University, 1981; University of Kansas (M.A.), 1990
“It’s nothing that’s real pertinent to me…”
The notion of setting and breaking records is rarely lost on athletes today, yet the quote listed above has come to define one member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012.
Brenda Stolle, a native of Silver Lake, Kansas, started playing softball when she was nine years old, often playing with her father and sisters on the practice fields of the small, northeast Kansas town. It was those practice sessions that turned Stolle into one of the most dominant softball pitchers in collegiate history.
Stolle picked up pitching at the age of fourteen as a way to add some “variety” to her game. The decision to become a more complete player also helped to turn her into one of the game’s best.
Upon graduation from Silver Lake High School, Stolle enrolled at nearby Washburn University where it did not take long for her to announce her presence. Yet, despite being named an All-CSIC (Central States Intercollegiate Conference) conference team at Washburn in 1978, she transferred to Emporia State University for her sophomore year.
As we could say, the rest was history. But that would not do justice as to how good of a hurler Brenda Stolle was for Emporia State. Not only did she lead the Hornets to a national title in 1980 and national runner-up finish in 1981, but she did so in dominating fashion.
Examine the numbers: Stolle’s career ERA at Emporia State is a mind-blowing 0.50, including a career low of 0.33 during the 1980 championship season. To put that into perspective, Stolle only allowed 33 earned runs in over 460 innings of work over her final two seasons. Her career win-loss record for the Hornets stands at an astounding 66-15 and six saves. Throw into the mix her total of 441 strikeouts in the two seasons the stat was kept (1980-1981) and it is easy to see why she had such an intimidating hold over hitters.
An examination of the numbers might lead one to think that Stolle was simply a calculated tactician on the field but she had the same focus and drive off the field as well. An outstanding student, Stolle admitted that softball was something she “got channeled into” as a compliment to her education.
Stolle earned several honors during her playing career including being named a two-time NAIA All-American, the NAIA Most Valuable Player in 1981, and the FCA Kansas Female Athlete of the Year. She was the first woman inducted into the Emporia State Athletics Hall of Honor in 1988.
However, through all of the records and wins, Stolle remained humble in all her pursuits and kept her intense focus on the things in her life that mattered most: her family and her faith. The pillars of her life helped her to keep a calm exterior during the heat of competition and helped define her as one of the greatest student athletes in the state’s history. And that is what should be “pertinent” to all.
Brenda currently resides in Roeland Park, Kansas, where she is entering her twenty-third year of teaching in public schools. She is active in the Hillcrest Covenant Church and loves to be outdoors gardening and hanging out with her family and friends.