Shannon Doepking tapped to lead softball
Shannon Doepking will lead the Ivy League-winning softball program, Dartmouth announced on Monday afternoon. Doepking, coming from Amherst College, will replace Rachel Hanson who is leaving the Big Green for Stanford University. Amherst held a 21-11 record (6-6 NESCAC) with Doepking at the helm.
Before Amherst, Doepking served as an assistant coach at Stony Brook University, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Brentwood Academy.
During her time at Stony Brook, Doepking helped lead the team to one of the best records in program history. Doepking also saw success at FDU, improving team statistics in earned-run average and batting averages, according to a Dartmouth Athletics release.
Following her college career at the University of Tennessee, Doepking played professional softball for five seasons.
The Akron Racers selected her as the 15th pick in the 2008 National Professional Fastpitch league draft. She also played for the USSSA Pride, the Tennessee Diamonds and the Chicago Bandits.
“When it came down to it, she had the pedigree, and she’s a young coach,” assistant director of varsity athletics communications at the College Nick Guerriero said. “She can keep the tradition going.”
Hanson won the Ivy League Championship Series with Dartmouth this past spring, capping off a sparkling four-year run that saw the team become an Ivy League powerhouse.
Infielder Alyssa Jorgensen ’17 said the team enjoyed working with Hanson and is sad to see her leave but is proud of her. The Big Green’s successful season last year gave the program much more attention, so it was not a surprise that Hanson moved to a power conference, she said.
Guerriero said that the College began looking for Hanson’s replacement the day she announced she was leaving. Players on campus met with the two final candidates for the position.
Outfielder Brianna Lohman ’16 said getting to interview the candidates for the position helped the team feel “in the loop.” With Doepking, players discussed her coaching style and how the Dartmouth team functions.
“One of the things that she was very adamant about is that she’s not going to try to fix something that’s not broken,” Lohman said. “Right now our program is on the rise, and she was very complimentary of our program and the positive impact our last coach has had on the program.”
Players off campus sent in questions, and the team compiled a list to ask each candidate, catcher Kathy Dzienkowski ’16 said.
From their meeting with Doepking, Dzienkowski said it was clear that she shared the team’s core values.
“Every one of her answers impressed me, and I knew that she would be a great fit for Dartmouth softball,” Dzienkowski said.
When meeting with players, Doepking emphasized the importance of accountability for a winning ballclub, shortstop Katie McEachern ’16 said.
That really stood out because this is one of the words that our team really strives to be and what we are as a team, she said.
Doepking’s experience playing professional softball while also coaching could bring a unique quality to her coaching, Lohman said.
Doepking’s experiences competing with the best players in the nation at the highest level will allow her to help the Big Green to accomplish its goals and reach an even higher level, Dzienkowski said.
“[Doepking] knows that we are very competitive, work hard and want to win,” Jorgensen said.
McEachern said players look forward to another championship. The team, she said, believes that Doepking will get them there.
“She really seems like a coach who is going to keep pushing us even though we have gotten to that championship level, but she will keep pushing further to make us better,” McEachern said.