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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State University Vice President for Athletics Sandy Barbour named Clarisa Crowell as the eighth head coach of the softball program Monday. Crowell, the 2019 Mid-American Conference (MAC) Coach of the Year, is the winningest coach in Miami (Ohio) program history with more than 200 wins.
Crowell comes to Happy Valley after eight years as head coach at Miami (Ohio), posting a 208-182 overall record. Under Crowell, the RedHawks made a MAC Tournament appearance every season a tournament was held, winning the tournament title in 2016.
"We are ecstatic to have attracted someone with Clarisa's experience, intellect and character to lead our softball program," said Barbour. "During the interview process, Clarisa's passion for the game of softball and dedication to her student-athletes was abundantly evident, as she rose to be our top candidate in an extremely competitive pool. Throughout her career, she has made a strong commitment to develop student-athletes both on and off the field. Her care for her students, devotion to comprehensive excellence, as well as her successes as the head coach at Miami (Ohio) and an assistant coach at Oklahoma State, make her a great fit for Penn State. We believe she will be a tremendous addition to our Nittany Lion family, and I can't wait for our student-athletes to begin the 'Coach C' era."
"I would like to thank Sandy Barbour and Charmelle Green for entrusting me to be the next head coach of Penn State Softball," said Crowell. "I firmly believe in the vision, mission and values of Penn State, and it is an incredible honor to be a part of this prestigious university and athletic department. I am excited to meet our student-athletes, staff, other coaches and the entire Penn State family. It is my intention to create a culture of comprehensive excellence and to take our program to the next level. We Are!"
Crowell coached 12 student-athletes to first-team All-MAC honors, 10 to second-team honors, nine All-MAC Freshman Team recipients and six National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Region honorees. RedHawks student-athletes also excelled in the classroom with 40 NFCA Scholar-Athletes and 32 Academic All-MAC honorees during Crowell's tenure.
In the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, Crowell's RedHawks were the MAC preseason favorites. Junior pitcher Courtney Vierstra was fifth in the nation and first in the conference in strikeouts with 140 in 18 appearances and tied for fifth nationally in strikeouts per seven innings with 12.5.
In 2019, Crowell led Miami to a 35-16 overall record and a 16-4 record in conference play as the RedHawks captured their first regular-season title in program history. Miami posted 10-straight wins against MAC opponents, the longest win streak in conference play in program history, en route to the crown. The team also ranked first in the MAC for pitching and defense with a team ERA of 2.55 and .972 fielding percentage.
Crowell was named the 2019 MAC Coach of the Year while seven student-athletes earned All-MAC selections and two were named NFCA All-Region honorees, including Vierstra who had the third-best strikeout-per-seven innings ratio in the country (10.3).
Crowell's 2017 team excelled offensively, ranking second all-time in runs (265), runs per game (5.00), RBI (235), doubles (74) and home runs (47). Crowell led Michaela Schlattman to a NFCA All-Region honor, marking the third-straight season a RedHawk player garnered such award. The RedHawks went 29-24 in 2017, including an impressive 16-2 record at home.
In 2016, Crowell led Miami to a 35-23 overall record and 15-7 record in MAC games, just half a game short of the MAC regular-season title. The RedHawks made up for that with a perfect 4-0 record in the MAC Tournament to earn their fourth conference crown and a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012. Miami went on to beat No. 23 Notre Dame, 3-2, in the opening game of the NCAA Regional in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The 2016 RedHawks broke six offensive school records: runs (302), runs per game (5.21), RBI (274), doubles (83), home runs (56) and walks (200). Miami also held a .977 fielding percentage for a school record and the seventh-best fielding percentage in the nation.
Crowell coached senior outfield Taylor Shuey to be the first softball player in school history to be named MAC Player of the Year after breaking Miami's career RBI record with 114. Senior pitcher Amber Logemann was also named the overall MAC Tournament MVP after going 4-0 with a 0.65 ERA in 32.1 innings pitched.
In Crowell's third season in 2015 she helped senior outfielder Tiyona Marshall to NFCA All-Mideast Region first-team honors after Marshall set school records in hits (86), runs scored (50) and batting average (.446).
Prior to Miami, Crowell spent six seasons as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State where she primarily worked with the pitchers and catchers. In 2010, both of her pitchers earned spots on the All-Big 12 and NFCA All-Midwest Region teams. In 2011, Crowell coached catcher Courtney Totte to an All-Big 12 first team selection and a Third-Team All-American. She helped lead the Cowgirls back to national prominence as Oklahoma State returned to the College World Series for the first time since 1998. The coaching staff was named Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year that season.
Crowell also made stops at Syracuse as an assistant coach in 2006 where she had four players earn All-Region recognition and five All-Conference honorees, led by All-American and Big East Player of the Year Alexis Switenko and Tonye McCorkle, the Big East Co-Rookie of the Year. Crowell started her coaching career at Ohio where she was an assistant for two years.
Crowell was a decorated student-athlete at Virginia Tech as a four-year letterwinner and a three-time all-conference performer for the Hokies. In 2013, Crowell was inducted into the Virginia Tech All Sports Hall of Fame.
Crowell graduated from Virginia Tech in 2002 with a bachelor of science degree in psychology. She earned a master of science in recreation and sports sciences from Ohio University in 2005.
What They're Saying:
"Coach Crowell is a coach of the highest class and character. She works exceptionally hard and does a tremendous job of empowering those around her. She sincerely cares for her staff and the young women in her program. I believe she is a great choice to lead Penn State Softball!"
-Megan Ciolli Bartlett, Texas Softball Assistant Coach, Former Ball State Head Coach
"Congratulations to Penn State on a home run hire! Clarisa is a proven winner and leader of young women, the kind of coach collegiate softball needs. She has always been a team-first person who will not only make the Nittany Lion Softball Program better but also have a positive impact on the entire Athletics Department."
-Chris Helms, Virginia Tech Senior Associate Athletic Director, Administration and Sports Programs
"Clarisa is a competitive, driven coach who had great relationships with the OSU players during her time in Stillwater. She was a tireless worker and her contributions to our program were a major component of our run the Women's College World Series."
-Jesse Martin, Oklahoma State Senior Associate Athletic Director, Softball Sport Administrator
"We're thankful for Clarisa's leadership and service to Miami Softball over the past several years. She's a person of impeccable integrity and character, and she's done a great job creating a winning culture within our program. We know that she's leaving Miami Softball better than she found it and wish her well on her new journey at Penn State."
-Breanna Robinson, Miami (Ohio) Assistant Athletic Director for Leadership & Diversity
"Coach Crowell was a rival on the field, but off the field she has been a friend. She runs a great program, not only based on results on the field, but based on team culture. She truly cares about developing young women through softball, not just as athletes, but as self-aware, self-motivated and socially-conscious citizens of the world."
-Eric Oakley, Kent State Softball Head Coach