Walsh Names Katie Connell as Softball Head Coach

Vice President/Director of Athletics Dale Howard has announced the hiring of Katie Connell as the newest softball head coach, the 9th head coach in program history.

Connell returns to Walsh University after spending the last seven seasons at Gordon College, a NCAA Division III institution in Wenham, Massachusetts.

“We are excited to be welcoming Katie Connell back to Cav Nation to lead our softball program,” said Howard. “Katie has an excellent track record of building successful programs, not only in terms of wins and losses, but more importantly in the development of student-athletes both on and off the field of play.”

In her time with the Fighting Scots, Connell transformed the program from a 7-23 record in her first year (2015) to a program-best 20-20 mark in the 2019 season.

“I would like to first thank the Vice President/Director of Athletics Dale Howard, the search committee, and the Walsh Athletics staff for the great honor and privilege to lead the women’s softball program at Walsh University,” added Connell. “I am incredibly humbled to be in this position and to be returning to Walsh University. I am familiar with the Walsh culture and everything this institution stands for, making this the right fit for me and my family.”

A number of her student-athletes at Gordon have found success on and off the field. In seven seasons, Connell coached a total of 16 All-Commonwealth Coast Conference honorees and 45 student-athletes were awarded Academic All-Conference accolades.

The 2019 season was a historical one for the Fighting Scots as she led the team to a program record 20 wins and a trip to the double-elimination round of the CCC playoffs as they finished fourth. The team broke nine records during that season, including eight individual marks. Records were shattered in a number of offensive and pitching categories including hits, runs, double and triples. She had seven players named National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America Scholar Athletes.

One of Connell’s highlights during her time with Gordon was a three-time All-CCC First Team selection and All-NFCA Region player, Megan Jenkerson, set six season records and one career record with the Fighting Scots. She has records in the categories of hits, runs, games played, triples, home runs and hit by pitches. She also has the program home run record as well.

The Louisville, Ohio native is very familiar with the Stark County area as she served as an assistant coach at both Walsh and Malone Universities. Connell (formerly Woolf) was a graduate assistant at Malone for two years (2010-12) before joining the coaching staff with the Cavaliers for a two-year period (2012-14).

As a Cavalier assistant coach, Connell had a key part in the evolution of the program from an 18-20 record in 2013 to 29-19 the following year. The 11 win increase led to a Division II era best of 29 wins for Walsh.

While at Malone, Connell pursued her Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership. As a graduate assistant with the Pioneers, she served as a coach for the hitters and assisted the Pioneers to the 2nd highest batting average in the American Midwest Conference.

Connell shared, “I could not be more excited to take the helm of this program - a program that emphasizes the value and development of the student-athlete, both on and off the field. This is an honor I do not take lightly and I cannot wait to work with these incredible women to attain growth in all aspects of life. I look forward to competing and thriving in the G-MAC, and helping build a program that the university, the community, and the alumni can be proud of.”

She played her four year collegiate career at Marietta College from 2007-2010, finishing with a decorated resume on the field. She was a two-time All-Conference student-athlete, including a NFCA/Louisville Slugger All-Region nod in her sophomore year. Connell still sits fifth all-time in program history with 75 RBI and is the all-time leader for fielding percentage at .991. She graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Graphic Design in May 2010.