LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The coaching staff of the 2018 NCAA Division II national runner-up Saint Anselm College softball team was selected as the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) East Region Coaching Staff of the Year, as the association announced its Regional Coaching Staffs of the Year on Monday afternoon.
Head coach Jill Gagnon and assistant coaches Tayla Trask, Jessica Douillette and Hannah Byrne were recognized for their work in guiding Saint Anselm to the national runner-up finish in its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II Softball Championship. The eight programs to reach the 2018 NCAA Division II National Championship in Salem, Va. accounted for the eight staffs to be honored and all eight staffs are eligible for the NFCA Division II National Coaching Staff of the Year award to be announced on June 13.
In Gagnon's fifth season on the Hilltop, she and her staff led the Hawks to the best season in program history that included a school-record 44 victories, a Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division regular-season title, a run to the national championship series, a program-record five wins over top-25 opponents and a school-record 13-game winning streak. The Saint Anselm staff received NFCA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year honors for the first time in a season that also saw Gagnon be named the NE10 Coach of the Year for the first time.
Saint Anselm's 44-13-1 record shattered the previous school record for wins (33 in 1997) by 11 and included an 8-3 mark in the NCAA postseason, with six of the eight victories coming by one or two runs. Gagnon and her staff coached a program-record eight All-NE10 selections in 2018 as well as three NFCA All-East Region honorees. The national runner-up finish marked the highest-ever placement by a Saint Anselm team in any sport.
With a roster that included just five combined juniors and seniors, Saint Anselm also set new school records in games (58), at bats (1,587), runs (279), hits (478), doubles (82), runs batted in (243), total bases (629), walks (177), times hit by pitch (31), stolen bases (89), saves (6), shutouts (13), innings pitched (389), chances (1,764), putouts (1,167) and assists (529) in 2018.