March 19, 2007
AKRON, Ohio - Marshall Thundering Herd head softball coach Shonda Stanton has been named the new field manager for the Akron Racers of the National Pro Fastpitch, as announced by team President/General Manager Joey Arrietta. The summer-only league begins its 40-game schedule in early June.
Stanton, who remains at Marshall as its full-time head coach, is the school's all-time coaching victories leader with 237 wins through seven-plus seasons. She has won 263 games in nearly nine seasons as a Division I coach. Prior to arriving in Huntington, Stanton headed the softball program at Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI). She took an inherited NCAA Division II squad that finished 8-20 and promptly led the first-year Division I program to a 27-25 record and a spot in the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament semifinals.
"I appreciate the opportunity that Marshall has given me to pursue this," Stanton said. "I am also grateful to Joey (Arrietta) and the entire Racers organization for allowing me the chance to become their field manager."
"Shonda is exactly the kind of coach I wanted," Arrietta said. "She likes the short game; she likes the bunt and the bunt-and-run.
"She knows how to manufacture runs with speed and the ability to run. Plus, she has a lot of energy. There's a lot of excitement in her as a field manager."
Stanton, who was a four-year starter at second base for UNC Greensboro, took over a once-fledgling Marshall softball program that had only two winning seasons prior to her arrival.
"Joey is a wonderful person and she knows the game of softball," Stanton said. "You can't not be around her and not become a better person."
In 2000, she guided the Thundering Herd to a Mid-American Conference East Division championship - the program's first regular season conference title. Three years later, her team won the MAC regular season title, posting a program-record 41 wins in 2003.
Stanton and the Herd won a second MAC regular season crown in 2005. Last season, Marshall advanced to its second consecutive conference tournament championship game as well as a spot in the Conference USA title game in 2006 - its first season in C-USA.
"I think that her excitement will inspire our players," Arrietta said. "We're going to take chances on the bases."
Stanton has produced 46 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Scholar-Athletes, 30 all-conference selections, 11 NFCA All-Region selections and Marshall's first All-American.
She was named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2005. However, her most impressive career highlights reside in the classroom as her teams have regularly sported one of the best team cumulative grade point averages in the nation.
Last season, the Herd earned the 12th-highest GPA nationally among Division I teams for the 2005-06 academic year. The Herd's 3.391 team GPA was the highest among Conference USA schools and was the fourth consecutive season that the Herd has been ranked in the top 13 nationally in cumulative team GPA. Marshall's best finish came in the 2003-04 academic year when the Herd sported a 3.42 GPA, finishing fifth nationally.
"This opportunity will bring exposure to the Marshall softball program," Stanton said. "I am dedicated to making our program better and more solid with each season."
Stanton joins former Marshall standouts Amanda and Jessica Williams, who currently play for the Rockford Thunder. The twin sisters spent the 2006 season with the Chicago Bandits.