UMass confirms Danielle Henderson will be its next softball coach

Published: 6/15/2021 6:12:26 PM

The UMass athletic department confirmed Wednesday that Danielle Henderson is the school’s choice to replace outgoing softball coach Kristi Stefanoni, who the school announced earlier this month wasn’t having her contract renewed.

“It is with great excitement that we welcome Danielle Henderson back home to a program she took to great heights as a student-athlete,” UMass athletic director Bamford said. “Danielle's legacy as one of the most decorated female athletes in UMass history, combined with her successful coaching resume, clearly established her as the ideal leader of our proud softball program. We are thrilled to have Danielle and her staff lead our efforts to build back a championship-caliber program and deliver a first-class student-athlete experience. Today is a great day for our athletics department and UMass softball!”

Stefanoni posted a 167-158-1 record in eight seasons as the head coach and 19 years with the school in total between stints as a player, assistant and head coach.

Henderson was the head coach at UMass-Lowell, which plays out of the America East Conference. The River Hawks went 13-18 this season, falling to Albany in the America East championship game.

“I am thrilled to be back at UMass,” Henderson said. “I want to thank Ryan Bamford for allowing me this opportunity to return home to lead this program. UMass has always held a special place in my heart and I want to give back to the University and all  the players that  have been a part of the program's rich history. I am looking forward to carrying on the winning traditions of UMass softball.”

Prior to her time at UMass-Lowell, Henderson had been the pitching coach at Ohio State and Stanford. A four-year letter winner, three-time All-American and the 1999 NCAA Player of the Year for coach Elaine Sortino at UMass, Henderson is the only player in the program’s history to have her number (44) retired. She was an Olympic champion for Team USA at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

After Sortino was diagnosed with cancer, Henderson came east and was thought to be in the running to take the UMass job that ultimately went to Stefanoni. Henderson was an associate head coach at UMass in 2014. She had also previously worked on the Massachusetts coaching staff from 2000-03.


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