Shonda Stanton helped lead the Marshall softball program into the national and international scene.
June 10, 2017
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall head softball coach Shonda Stanton announced her resignation Saturday after being named to the same position at Indiana University.
Stanton spent 18 seasons as the Thundering Herd’s head coach, winning a school-record 560 games.
“I cannot begin to describe the depth of gratitude my family and I have for Marshall University and the Huntington community,” Stanton said. “I never imagined, 19 years ago, when (Senior Women’s Administrator) Beatrice Crane Banford called, that it would have led to cultivating so many special relationships and strong roots within the Herd family. It has been amazing to see how we have been embraced and supported from the entire athletic staff, Marshall faculty and administration, doctors, donors, fans, and all of Huntington.
“I am thankful Beatrice and (former Athletics Director) Lance West gave me a shot and appreciate my time under (former Athletics Director) Bob Marcum and (current Athletics Director) Mike Hamrick. I am proud of all my assistant coaches through the years and the support staff who have come alongside in fostering an environment that has produced over 100 strong, confident young women who are forever daughters of Marshall. To all who have worn the Green and White, thank you for being incredible role models to our Lil’ Sis members, for being a joy to coach, and great ambassadors for our brand. We were able to sustain a culture of competitive excellence in the classroom and on the field and I look forward to seeing the success of Team 25 and beyond. Our alumni and fan base is stronger and more energized than ever. From the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of Joe and my children, thank you Thundering Herd Nation and thank you to the Yeager family from Thornburg Insurance agency for your continued support as we transition to Indiana University.”
The reigning Conference USA Coach of the Year led the Thundering Herd to one of its most successful seasons in program history in 2017. Marshall won a program-record 42 games and finished 20-4 in conference to win the league’s regular season title. The Herd cracked the Top 25, with its highest ranking being 23rd, and sported a top-30 RPI for most of the season. The program received an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament and defeated DePaul before being eliminated by Illinois.
Stanton leaves behind a long legacy of excellence for the Green and White. Stanton led Marshall to 30-win seasons 12 times, five appearances in conference tournament championship games, three conference regular season titles, two trips to the NCAA Tournament and one C-USA Tournament Championship.
Many student-athletes have been honored under coach Stanton’s tutelage. Seventy-seven (77) times, her players were named all-conference, with 41 NFCA Mideast All-Region selections and three NFCA All-Americans (Rachel Folden, Morgan Zerkle and Jordan Dixon). Seven Marshall players moved on to play professionally in the National Pro Fastpitch League. The Herd made a mark internationally as well, with five players who have national team experience. In 2017, Marshall had Zerkle (USA), Elicia D’Orazio (Puerto Rico) and Eloise Tribolet (France) all in uniform.
Under Stanton, Marshall had a rich history of speed in the lineup. No other program ranked in the Top 10 nationally in stolen bases more times (11) than Marshall. The Herd led the country in steals for the third time since 2011 with 3.0 per game and 162 total. D’Orazio became the second Marshall player to individually lead the nation in thefts per game (1.09), joining Zerkle who led in 2015. Marshall broke its own team record for single-season steals in three consecutive seasons, while D’Orazio set the team and Conference USA record with 59 steals in 2017. Marshall Athletics Hall of Famer Sierra Davenport (2001-04) remains the Mid-American Conference’s career leader in stolen bases with 130. Marshall has six players, all-time, with more than 100 career stolen bases and is the only program in C-USA with more than one.
"Shonda's impact on our softball program needs no explanation," said the Thundering Herd's Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick. "She led Marshall to two Conference USA championships and a pair of appearances in the NCAA Tournament. This is a tremendous opportunity and we certainly wish her nothing but the best.
“We will now work to identify the best candidate to lead our young women moving forward."
The Herd has excelled off the field as well, currently sporting a streak of 36 consecutive semesters with a combined team Grade Point Average of 3.0 or higher. Since 2000, student-athletes have been honored 118 times as NFCA All-America Scholar Athletes with a GPA of 3.50 or higher during an academic year. Eighteen (18) times, student-athletes have been selected to the MAC or the C-USA All-Academic teams. Nine student-athletes have been named to the ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-District team. In 2015, and again in 2017, Zerkle was named a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American. In addition, 24 student-athletes have received the Conference USA Academic Medal 44 times for a GPA of 3.75 or better during an academic year.