The future is bright for Blue Hens Softball as Jen Steele, a former conference Coach of the Year who brings a wealth of head coaching experience, has been named as the new University of Delaware softball head coach.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Jen to the Blue Hens family. Her values are strongly aligned with UD, and she brings notable accomplishments as a head coach along with the proven ability to build successful programs. Her energy, excitement for the sport, and commitment to recruiting great student-athletes make her a perfect fit to lead the softball program here at Delaware,” said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Services Chrissi Rawak.
Steele spent the previous year as the head coach at Marshall, where she led the Thundering Herd to a third place finish in the east division of Conference USA with a 13-9-1 league mark. Taylor McCord and Aly Harrell were each NFCA Mideast All-Region selections after earning first team All-Conference honors, while Harrell was named Conference USA Freshman of the Year.
Prior to Marshall, Steele led Jacksonville from 2015 through 2017, making an eight-win improvement while leading the Dolphins to an appearance in the Atlantic Sun Tournament during her first season. During her final year in Jacksonville the Dolphins won 30 games and finished ninth in the country with 113 stolen bases. During her Jacksonville tenure, 10 players were named All-Conference and five received ASUN All-Academic honors.
“I am extremely honored to be named the new softball coach at Delaware and I’d like to thank Athletic Director Chrissi Rawak, as well as Senior Associate Athletics Director Jenn Judy and sport supervisor Bob Lopez, for entrusting me to lead the Blue Hens Softball program,” shared Steele. “It became clear very quickly that the University of Delaware is a special place, and there is a lot of positive momentum right now. There is a fresh, exciting energy throughout the entire department, and the vision set forth by the administration is one that aligns with my core values. The recent focus on the student-athlete experience is something that makes UD stand out, and I can’t wait to showcase it to recruits and their families.”
Steele went on to thank the former coaching staff for their investment and time spent leading the program while expressing her excitement to meet the team and to begin building the foundation that will enable the program to compete at the top of the CAA. She is excited with the move to Delaware, sharing that “The administration has shown their commitment to winning championships and we will start focusing on that from this day forward.”
“Having grown up in the DC area, the chance to get back east at a school like Delaware, back to a region that I am familiar with, where I can use my recruiting ties, and be closer to my family, was the right decision,” said Steele.
Steele also served as the head coach at Division III Randolph College, and was named the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2009 after leading the team to its first ever winning season and its first trip to the conference tournament. She then served two years overseeing the pitchers and catchers as an assistant coach at George Mason.
Steele served as the lead assistant at her alma mater, Longwood University, from 2012-14, helping the Lancers win 81 games during her final two seasons and a final RPI of 61 in 2014. Responsible for overseeing the pitching staff, she helped guide Longwood to the 2013 Big South Tournament title and an NCAA Tournament appearance. During her first year on the staff Longwood ranked third in the nation with 6.8 runs per game and eighth with a .533 slugging percentage, while also finishing among the top 20 in the nation in home runs per game, doubles per game and batting average.
Steele was a four-year member of the Longwood softball team from 2002-05, helping lead the squad to a 143-53 record during her career. She was named the 2002 Carolinas-Virginia Conference Freshman of the Year and the 2005 Division I All-Independent Pitcher of the Year. A two-time All-CVAC selection, she finished with 73 wins, 652.2 innings pitched, 409 strikeouts and a 1.75 ERA in the circle while batting .324 at the plate with 129 RBI and 112 runs scored.
A native of Manassas Park, Va., Steele earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication studies from Longwood in 2005. She went on to earn a Masters of Science in exercise and sport studies from Smith College in 2007, where she began her coaching career as a graduate assistant in 2005.