Consultative Committee Announced For UMass Softball Coaching Search
May 23, 2014
AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts Department of Athletics has announced the creation of a consultative committee which will be involved with the search for a head softball coach. UMass Director of Athletics John McCutcheon will chair the committee which is also made up of Emily Bietsch, Kim Callicoatte, Rocko Deluca, Pam Hixon and Rebecca Spencer.
The group will perform a nationwide search beginning immediately.
This past season, the softball program was led by veteran assistant coach and alumna Kristi Stefanoni `06. She was named interim head coach last August following the passing of UMass Hall Of Fame coach Elaine Sortino.
In addition to the elevation of Stefanoni for the 2014 season, UMass also brought in former All-American and Olympic Gold Medalist Danielle Henderson `99 as Associate Head Coach.
"We are very grateful to Kristi and Danielle for the job they have done over the past eight months," said McCutcheon. "It has been a very challenging time for all involved with the UMass softball program after the passing of Elaine, but they have been able to keep the program moving in the right direction with their dedication, passion, and leadership."
Stefanoni has been a member of the staff for eight seasons now including six as assistant coach, one as associate head coach (2013) and this past season as interim head coach following her four-year playing career.
Henderson returned to UMass after stints as an assistant coach with Stanford (2013) and Ohio State (2011-12) while also working six years as a private pitching instructor. She also spent six years as an assistant coach with the UMass program (2000-05) to start her coaching career.
The search committee is made up of two athletics department administrators in addition to McCutcheon. Callicoate is the Associate Athletic Director for Compliance and the softball program's sport administrator, while Deluca is the Associate Athletic Director for Advancement.
Bietsch is a former UMass softball student-athlete who graduated in 1987. She helped UMass to its first two Atlantic 10 titles in 1986 and 1987 along with its first-ever trip to the NCAA Regionals in 1986. She was a member of the Atlantic 10 All-Academic Team as a senior and played in 169 total games.
No stranger to the UMass Department of Athletics, Hixon is a member of the Hall of Fame as the former head coach of the field hockey and women's lacrosse programs. The all-time winningest coach in the history of both programs was also a longtime friend to Sortino as the pair worked closely together during their careers at UMass.
Spencer is the Faculty Athletic Representative and professor of psychology at UMass. She is a key advisor to the Department of Athletics and a member of the Faculty Senate's Athletic Council.
The Minutewomen posted a 16-22-1 overall record and a 9-6-1 mark in Atlantic 10 play this past season. UMass reached the Atlantic 10 Tournament this Spring after missing it in 2013. Jena Cozza enjoyed a highly decorated season earning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year honors. She was also named to the NFCA All-Region team, the All-Atlantic 10 Second Team, and the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team. Tiffany Meeks was also selected to the NFCA All-Region Team, while Lindsey Webster picked up All-Atlantic 10 Second Team honors as well. Tara Klee earned a spot on the A-10 All-Rookie Team rounding out the Minutewomen's accolades for the year.
One of the all-time great Northeast softball programs, UMass has won 16 of the last 20 Atlantic 10 Championships and 23 league titles overall. The Minutewomen have reached the NCAA Tournament on 21 occasions with three trips to the Women's College World Series (WCWS).