Each year at their national convention, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) recognizes National and Regional Coaching Staffs of the Year. This year’s convention was held in New Orleans from December 7 to 11, and was a special one for the MIT softball coaching staff of 2016. At the Champion’s Brunch, they collected their award for the DIII New England Regional Coaching Staff of the Year.
The staff was made up of head coach Jen Williams (who is heading into her seventh season) and assistants Caroline Blanchard, Lauren Dobish, Sarah Goodman, and Amanda Jason ‘08. The group led the team to its best season in program history. And what a year it was! The Engineers finished the 2016 campaign with a record of 34-14 and broke eleven team single season records, ten individual season records, and fourteen individual career records.
The team finished the season 16-2 in NEWMAC games and earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament for the second time in two years. After winning the Williamstown Regional and a rematch of the NEWMAC Championship against Worcester Polytechnical Institute in the Worcester Super Regional, the team finished fifth overall at the NCAA DIII National Softball Championship in Salem, Virginia. They also finished ranked seventh nationally in the final NFCA poll of the year.
During the 2016 season, Williams became the second head coach in MIT softball history to reach the one hundred-win mark, for which she also received an award at the convention. With 109 wins after the 2016 season, she is just eight wins away from being the winningest coach in program history.
The entire quintet was present at the Champion’s Brunch in New Orleans to accept the prestigious award—something for which they were all very excited. Though the staff has since changed, the bar has been set. The groundbreaking season and standard set by the 2016 coaching staff and team will always be one to strive for. As we head into 2017, the Engineers are excited for what is in store. Good luck to the team this season!
Words by Brenna Morrissey.