DONALDSON, IN – The Ancilla College Softball program will be under new direction this season as Jenn Cassell has been named the new head coach.
Cassell joins the Ancilla family after coaching at Purdue University North Central (PNC) the previous two years, serving as an assistant coach in 2015 and the head coach in 2016. In 2015, Cassell served as the infield coach for the Panthers. Prior to 2015, she served as an infield assistant in 2007-2009.
Cassell took over skipper duties for PNC in 2016. Despite a challenging year on the field, the Panther team earned the Champions of Character award, an NAIA initiative for community service. In 2015, Cassell helped the infield earn a .950 fielding percentage. The Panthers also produced two Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference All-Conference players and three NAIA Academic All-Americans during the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
While coaching at PNC during the 2009 season, the team accumulated 28 wins, the highest for a single season in program history. Under Cassell's tutelage, 2009 also saw the Panthers finish second in the Chicagoland Conference in fielding with a .955 fielding percentage.
Prior to her coaching career, Cassell played three seasons for PNC (2004, 2005, 2007), filling the role at first base and catcher. During her final season at PNC, She fielded .974 and hit .333, striking out only seven times. Cassell also helped the team to their second CCAC tournament appearance.
Cassell began her college career in 1998 at Pierce Junior College in Los Angeles, CA. While at Pierce, Cassell was the starting catcher and second string pitcher. She earned All-Conference Honors and the Best Defense Award for her time behind the plate.
In 2011, Cassell headed back to the diamond to continue her playing career with a women's fast pitch league as a first baseman and catcher, after working as an Ironworker for the Ironworkers Union Local 395 for several years. The same year, Cassell's team took first place in the UGSI Fast Pitch Women's League. The following year, the team earned second place and ended Cassell's time playing fast pitch softball.
Cassell says that as she ventures into this new coaching opportunity, she will use her knowledge gained over the years to encourage her players to understand what they need to do in order to succeed not only as an individual but as a team mate and community member. On the field, Cassell plans to focus on fundamentals and intensity. Cassell's philosophy of respect, teamwork and commitment will be expected for herself, staff, players and parents as well. She will work to continue to develop the fundaments for hitting and fielding with the players and stress the importance of understanding all of the situations on the field or at the plate at any given time.
"We are happy to welcome someone of Jenn's expertise and experience to the Charger Athletics Family," commented Ancilla College Athletic Director Gene Reese. "Jenn is a good fit for Ancilla because she espouses the values that are important to Ancilla athletics. With the experience and knowledge that Jenn has in both playing and coaching softball, she has what is needed to be successful in her new position."
A native of California, Cassell now resides in Kingsbury, IN with her husband of 11 years, Doug and their two daughters, Emily (10) and Brooklyn (4).