Jill Gagnon, the winningest coach in program history, enters her seventh season at the helm of the Saint Anselm softball team in 2020.
Through six seasons as head coach, Gagnon has transformed the Hawks softball program into a perennial power, not only in the East Region but on a national scale. Winners of the 2018 NCAA Division II East Region Championship, Gagnon piloted the Hawks to its first-ever appearance in the 2018 NCAA Division II Softball Championship and finished as the runner-up. Since the start of the 2018 campaign, the Hawks own a dominant record of 85-23-1 (.784).
Since assuming the reins of the program in 2014, Saint Anselm has made five appearances in the Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) postseason and guided the team to its first-ever league championship in 2019. After winning the conference championship, Saint Anselm earned its third NCAA tournament appearance under Gagnon's guidance, falling just one victory shy of its second consecutive East Region title.
Gagnon, the NE10 Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season, led the Hawks to a 41-10 overall record. Eight student-athletes received NE10 All-Conference accolades, including freshman Kylie Fitzpatrick who claimed the conference's Defensive Player of the Year award. Morgan Perry was awarded the program's first-ever NFCA All-America award following the season and the Hawks were ranked 17th nationally in the season's final NFCA Top 25 Poll.
In 2018, Gagnon led a team with just five combined juniors and seniors all the way to the national championship series of the 2018 NCAA Division II Softball Championship in Salem, Va. before the Hawks fell to Southern Indiana. The national runner-up finish marked the first time any of the College's teams had ever played for a national title, as the Hawks won their first-ever East Region title with a perfect 5-0 record to punch their ticket to Salem.
In Salem, Saint Anselm posted three victories against nationally-ranked teams, including two against eighth-ranked Southern Arkansas, with the team's first two victories coming in walk-off fashion. Three Hawks (Perry, Amanda Bickford, Erin Thompson) were named to the All-Championship Team following the conclusion of the tournament.
Gagnon earned her first NE10 Coach of the Year honor in 2018 and, along with her staff, was named the NFCA Division II East Region Coaching Staff of the Year after leading the Hawks to a 23-3-1 mark in the NE10 that included a 19-2 mark in the Northeast Division and a divisional title. Saint Anselm won a school-record 13-straight games before falling to Pace in the NE10 Softball Championship semifinals before putting together the historic run to the national championship series. On Apr. 22, Saint Anselm earned its first-ever national ranking, coming in at No. 24 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division II Coaches Poll.
Through six seasons as head coach, Gagnon has coached 32 All-NE10 selections, including 16 in just the last two seasons. Under her guidance, five student-athletes have earned 12 all-region honors during Gagnon's time on the Hilltop and the program has also produced two NFCA All-America Scholar-Athletes and one CoSIDA Academic All-District pick.
Gagnon became the third coach in program history to reach 100 career victories on April 2, 2018, when the Hawks defeated her alma mater, Merrrimack, 5-4 at home.
In 2015, Gagnon led Saint Anselm to its second-ever NCAA Division II Championship tournament berth, the program's first since 2002, with a 23-14 overall record and a 12-9 mark in the NE10. The Hawks earned an at-large bid into the tournament as the No. 7 seed in the East Regional and eliminated third-seeded Queens College (N.Y.) before falling twice to second-seeded Southern New Hampshire University. Saint Anselm also advanced to the second round of the NE10 Championship after finishing third in the Northeast Division during the regular season.
In her first season of 2014, Gagnon guided the Hawks to a 27-14 record overall, including a 15-6 mark in the Northeast Division of the NE10, which earned Saint Anselm a share of the regular-season title. She then steered the team to the semifinals of the NE10 Championship before falling to eventual runner-up and NCAA Tournament team the University of New Haven.
As assistant coach of the Hawks in 2013, Gagnon helped Saint Anselm to a 22-21 overall record, earning the program's first trip to the Northeast-10 postseason since 2008.
Prior to arriving on the Hilltop, Gagnon served as a pitching coach for UMass Boston from 2010-12 and was part of a coaching staff that led the Beacons to their first LEC Conference Tournament appearance in program history.
Gagnon played collegiate softball at Merrimack College, where she was a First Team All-NE10 selection and made the NE10 All-Championship Team in 2009. She was also named to the NFCA All-American East Region First Team that same season.
Gagnon played four years of both softball and basketball at Manchester Memorial High School and was an all-state pick on the diamond in both 2004 and 2005.
She currently resides in Somerville, Mass.
|Season||Overall Record||NE10 Record/Division Finish
|2014||27-14||18-9/T-1st||NE10 Championship (1-1)|
|2015||23-13||12-9/T-3rd||NCAA Division II East Regional (1-2)
NE10 Championship (1-1)
|2017||23-14||12-9/T-3rd||NCAA Division II East Regional (1-2)
NE10 Championship (1-1)
|2018||44-13-1||23-3-1/1st||NE10 Championship Semifinal (0-1)
NCAA Division II National Runner-up (3-3)
|2019||41-10||23-2/1st||NE10 Champions (2-0)
NCAA Division II East Region Runner-Up (4-2)
|Total (6 seasons)||170-90-1 (.653)
||5 NE10 Championship Appearances (4-4)
3 NCAA Tournament Appearances (8-7)