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New softball coach hired

Published: September 29, 2006
Section: Sports


For 32 years, Brandeis softball has only known of one coach. That has changed with Brandeis announcing the hiring of their new coach: Jessica Johnson.

Johnsons hiring completes a month long hunt for a softball coach that opened with the July 20th dismissal of coach Mary Sullivan and finished with a committee of coaches and softball players picking Johnson.

In a statement in the Brandeis University press release, Johnson expressed great eagerness in taking over as coach, “I am extremely excited and honored to be joinin For 32 years, Brandeis softball has only known of one coach. That has changed with Brandeis announcing the hiring of their new coach: Jessica Johnson.

Johnsons hiring completes a month long hunt for a softball coach that opened with the July 20th dismissal of coach Mary Sullivan who until Wednesday had been the only coach the Judges have ever known, and finished with a committee of coaches and softball players picking Johnson, who beat out over 20 candidates for the vacancy.

In a statement in the Brandeis University press release, Johnson expressed great eagerness in taking over as coach, “I am extremely excited and honored to be joining Brandeis, a university that is so deeply rooted in its academic and athletic successes. Jonson said, Before she got into coaching, Johnson was a dominant softball player during her undergraduate years at Wheaton (class of 98), culminating with two All-American awards in 1995 and 1997. Some of her totals, including career batting average and slugging percentage are still Wheaton records. After earning her Masters in psychology at Lesley University in 2002, Johnson got her first coaching gig as an assistant at Framingham State College. From there, she moved on to be the head coach of the Mount Ida College Mustangs. In her two years as head coach of the program, Johnson helped coach the Mustangs to their two highest win totals in the schools softball history with 11 and 13 respectively.

One of her strong qualities is that she is a very accomplished player herself, Sousa explained. “I also think that she did well at her head coaching assignment at Mount Ida.

The selection committee was led by Assistant Athletic Director Tom Rand, who served as chairmen. Helping weed out the candidates was a diverse collection of coaches from the athletic department: Pete Varney (baseball), Carol Simon (WBasketball), Ben Lamanna (tennis), Bill Shipman (fencing, golf) and Lisa DeNicola (head athletic trainer). Representing the softball team and there concerns on the panel was captain, McWilliams. The panels work was praised by Sousa.

We thought that there were pros and cons to all the coaches…We are very happy with the choice that was made. McWilliams said.

Johnsons hiring could not come soon enough. Not having a coach coming into the academic year has set Brandeis back on the recruiting curve. McWilliams though stated that the team has come together, Johnson is expected to hit the ground running and even more importantly, the team has shown that they are ready to move on and surprise the league.

The team meets with Coach Johnson for their first official practice on September 29 as they try to make up for lost time.