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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Alum returns to coach softball team

Published: September 19, 2014
Section: Sports

Coach Jessica Johnson, head coach of the Brandeis varsity softball team, will officially be leaving her position at the university after a period of eight years. Brittany Grimm ’10, a volunteer assistant coach and Brandeis alum, has been named interim head coach. Johnson will be leaving for her new position at Amherst College immediately.

Johnson came to Brandeis University in 2007. During her tenure as head coach, she brought the Judges to their first-ever NCAA tournament in 2010. She also helped the Judges reach the ECAC Division III New England tournament six times and coached two All-Americans and nine All-New England players.

When asked to explain the reason for her departure from the university, Johnson stated, “It was an extremely difficult decision as I was in no way looking to leave Brandeis, but this is a professional opportunity I couldn’t pass up.” She also explained that a big factor in the decision was the opportunity for her family to move to western Massachusetts, something she and her family had wanted to do. While excited about her new position, Johnson made clear that she is proud of her eight years at Brandeis and that the students and staff will always be part of her extended family.

In an email interview with The Hoot about Johnson’s departure, senior varsity captain Anya Kamber ’15 said, “It came as a huge shock to find out that she was leaving,” and that “we were all pretty speechless after she told us, but once our immediate reactions settled we were able to come together as a team and talk about how we can move forward.” Kamber elaborated that while Johnson will be greatly missed, the team is very excited to have Grimm, “someone who knows this school and program very well,” as their new head coach.

Grimm had already begun her position as head coach as of press time. She herself was a player for the Judges for the 2009-2012 seasons. As an outfielder for the team, Grimm was named a University Athletic Association All-Star in 2012 and was part of the team that traveled to the NCAA’s in 2010. Post graduation, she has helped out as a volunteer assistant coach for the Judges, as well as coached the Natick Frozen Ropes Ice team this summer. She was also head coach of her high school soccer team, and coached various youth softball and soccer teams. Grimm will serve officially as interim coach this year. A permanent coach will be selected via a national search, and will likely begin by the end of the spring or beginning of summer, in order for to be able to participate in the main recruiting period.

When asked about her new position, Grimm’s enthusiasm was clear. She stated, “It has always been my dream to coach softball at the collegiate level. To have the chance to coach at this level, and on top of that at my alma mater, is really the experience of a lifetime for me.” She expressed great excitement and positivity for the team’s success this year, with a goal of bringing the team back to the NCAA tournament.

While the Judges will certainly miss Johnson, her departure will not put the team on pause. With a new coach already in place, the team is already preparing themselves for the upcoming season.