Shonda Stanton Aims To Change The Game At Indiana

IU Athletics

By any definition, Shonda Stanton appeared to be a "lifer" at Marshall.


Taking over the Thundering Herd softball program in 2000, she compiled some hall of fame numbers by accruing 560 career wins, including 30 or more wins in 12 of her 18 seasons.


Stanton's 2017 team was exceptional: the Herd went 42-12, including a 20-4 mark in Conference USA, and they earned a trip to the NCAA tournament. Stanton coached both the conference player and pitcher of the year award winners and was named Conference USA coach of the year.


She had been at the same job for 18 seasons and was extremely successful at what she was doing. In short, it was an extremely comfortable situation.


null


"I had another year left on my contract and wasn't even considering any type of a move when I received a call last winter from Indiana's search committee asking whether I might be interested," Stanton said. "It really moved fast from that point forward. Honestly, staying put would have been the easiest thing in the world to do. I was working at a great school and with some great people. We were winning and drawing good crowds to the games. But once I visited the IU campus and met the staff, I knew it was something I wanted to do.


"I think in any profession you are always looking for the best fit," she added. "When I saw the athletic facilities and I saw the beautiful campus and I listened to [athletic director Fred Glass] talk about IU's commitment to the student-athlete, it really started to convince me that might be time to make a move."


But Stanton added it was the tragic death of one of her former players that actually helped her make the final decision. Emileigh Cooper, a four-year player at Marshall, passed away at age 22 following an automobile accident.


"Emileigh was the type of person who would never settle," Stanton said. "She came to us as a freshman and she would not accept the fact that we didn't have a roster spot for her. She would not settle for just making the team nor would she be happy just becoming a starter. Every day of her life was devoted to meeting every challenge head on and becoming a better player and a better person. In her senior season, she was not only starting but earned all-conference and had one of the highest batting averages in school history."


Stanton said Cooper's determination on the diamond and in her personal life helped in her decision to leave Marshall and accept the challenge at Indiana.


"People look at coaches as the teachers," Stanton said. "But the truth is we can learn as much if not more from our players. When I was trying to decide on whether I really wanted to make this move, I kept thinking about Emileigh and how she never wanted to settle for status quo. She always wanted the challenge of becoming better in everything she did and it certainly inspired me to do the same."


At Indiana, Stanton will face the challenge of building a team that has fallen on rough times of late. The Hoosiers have had only one winning season in the last five and last made the NCAA tournament in 2011.


Her immediate challenge may be on the recruiting front, where she says getting "bigger, faster, and stronger players" will be the goal, but added a huge transformation in culture has already taken place in the program.


"We have an amazing group of young women on this team right now who have totally bought into what we are trying to do," Stanton says. "Our basic philosophy is we want to win the day. We want our players to take responsibility in the approach they take in all aspects of the game.


null


"For example, I am a big believer in the running game and the importance of stealing bases. But I also know we currently lack some team speed. What we are telling our players is we may not be able to do a straight steal but we can always do a delay steal. If the catcher is lobbing the ball back to the pitcher or an outfielder is being lackadaisical about getting the ball back to the infield, we need to be looking to take the next base.You don't necessarily need to have team speed to play the speed game."


Stanton added that philosophy can be applied to almost every aspect of the game.


"The intensity in which you play, your ability to make the smart play, and always trying to stay aggressive can make up for many physical shortcomings," Stanton said.


Stanton has said her players are already responding to that message.


"They are like sponges right now," she said. "At one our first team meetings, one of our players got up and asked what do we needed to do to be a top-25 program. That sort of blew me away. It shows that they want to excel and want to win and now it's our job as coaches to put them in a position to do so."


Stanton knows there are no magical formulas to get there, but she also know she doesn't want to place limits on her team with any set goals.


"When you set goals for wins or home runs or stolen bases, what happens when you reach them?" Stanton asked. "I don't want our players to think there are any limits on what they can accomplish this year. If we go about our business the right way, if we practice the right way, if we treat others the right way, if we play with intensity, if we worry about the things we can control, then the results will come at the end and we will win the day."


Get More From FloSoftball!

Sign up for the FloSoftball newsletter for instant access to: Breaking News, Live Streams, Rankings, Technique Videos and more!


Pitcher Lacie Ham Hospitalized After Being Struck By A Line Drive

OC Batbuster Campbell pitcher/first baseman Lacie Ham was rushed to the hospital on Sunday after she was struck by a line drive to the temple. She was diagnosed with a skull fracture in the ICU and seems to be recovering well. 

New NCAA Transfer Rule Waives Permission-To-Contact Process

Gary Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

Good news for college players who want to transfer. NCAA Division I student-athletes will now have the ability to transfer without granted permission from their current schools, effective October 15, 2018. 

FloSoftball Accepting FAB 50 Club Teams Nominations

Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports

We are currently updating the FAB 50 club rankings and want to hear from you about the top teams in the country!

Eugene Lenti Retires After 37 Seasons As DePaul Softball Coach

DePaul Athletics

After a nearly 40-year run at DePaul, Eugene Lenti has retired as the Blue Demons' head softball coach.

This Week's Verbal Commitments & Team Changes (6/14)

Orlando Jorge Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports

We are still catching up on many verbals that were made before the early contact date was changed. This week alone we've added more than 70 commits, along with some team changes.

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloSoftball!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

USSSA Pride To Host NPF’s First-Ever LGBT Pride Night

USSSA Pride

As we kick off June’s LGBT Month, the USSSA Pride announced they will host professional softball’s first-ever LGBT Pride Night on June 20 to celebrate diversity and inclusion. 

The Ugly Side Of Early Specialization

Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports

By Kaila Holtz @kailaholtz

Amanda Lorenz Joins USA WNT At Japan All-Star Series

Rob Ferguson/USA TODAY Softball

OKLAHOMA CITY — USA Softball announced today that Amanda Lorenz (Moorpark, Calif.) will be joining the USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) at the 2018 Japan All-Star Series.  Lorenz, an outfielder who will be entering her senior season at the University of Florida, returns to the USA Softball WNT program with previous experience, having played on the 2016 Women's Elite Team.Lorenz, along with the Japan All-Star Series roster, will go through training camp and exhibition games this week at the Scrap Yard Complex before setting their sights on the Japan All-Star Series June 20-23, 2018 where they will face the Japan National Team in a three-game series.Led by Head Coach Laura Berg (Corvallis, Ore./Head Coach at Oregon State), Patty Gasso (Torrance, Calif./Head Coach at Oklahoma), Melyssa Lombardi (Glendale, Ariz./Associate Head Coach at Oklahoma) and two-time Olympian Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif./Director of Operations at CSUN) will serve as Assistant Coaches for the 2018 USA Softball Japan All-Star Series roster.

FloSoftball Partners With AthPro360 To Launch FloShowdown ID Camps

Gary Rohman/USA TODAY Sports

FloSoftball, the innovator in live and original softball content, today announced an exclusive partnership with AthPro360 to launch the FloShowdown ID camps for 14U to 18U and JUCO players. AthPro360 is the world’s most comprehensive and technologically advanced collegiate athletic recruiting and player development platform. 

Rutgers Named Kristen Butler Head Softball Coach

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (June 8, 2018) – Rutgers Athletics has announced the hiring of Kristen Butler as the next head coach of the Scarlet Knights' softball program. A former SEC Player of the Year and record-setting professional softball player in the United States and Japan, Butler has spent the last four seasons turning around the program as head coach at Toledo while earning the 2018 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year honor.