Notre Dame Graduate begins Collegiate Coaching Career
Brittany O'Donnell Tabbed as Softball Volunteer Assistant Coach
Brittany O’Donnell Tabbed As Softball Volunteer Assistant 2013 Notre Dame graduate begins collegiate coaching career as a member of the Irish staff
Brittany O’Donnell graduated in 2013 with the fourth-best winning percentage all-time (.769, 40-12) at Notre Dame
Sept. 12, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Former University of Notre Dame pitcher Brittany O’Donnell (’13) has re-joined the Irish softball program as a volunteer assistant coach, head coach Deanna Gumpf announced Thursday.
O’Donnell was a four-year monogram winner while at Notre Dame, helping lead the program to three BIG EAST Conference regular-season championships and four straight regional appearances in the NCAA Championship. O’Donnell will assist in a variety of aspects related to team coaching, specializing in instruction with the Notre Dame pitching staff alongside Gumpf.
"We are extremely excited to have Brittany return to our program after graduating from Notre Dame last spring," Gumpf said. "This will be a great opportunity for our staff to mentor her as she enters the next phase of her softball career as a coach. With her reputation as a successful college pitcher working with all of our players, it will have a huge impact on both our pitching and hitting. Having Brittany on our coaching staff will be an invaluable asset to our team this season."
O’Donnell made 99 pitching appearances for the Irish from 2010-13, logging a cumulative 40-12 record and a 3.46 ERA in 55 starts, tossing 18 complete games. Her .769 career winning percentage ranks fourth in the school’s all-time record book, placing her in elite company with Notre Dame All-Americans Kristin Schmidt, Terri Kobata (`96) and Melanie Alkire (`01). O’Donnell also ranks in the Irish career top 10 in combined shutouts (11, tied for third place) and strikeouts per seven innings (6.17, ninth place).
The right-handed hurler enjoyed her best statistical season in 2013 as a senior, posting the most single-season wins (12), lowest ERA (3.17), least walks issued (28) and most strikeouts (76) of her Notre Dame career. She added a career-high eight complete games and two solo shutouts to aid the Irish cause on a 43-15 squad that won the 13th and final BIG EAST regular-season championship in program history, and reached the NCAA Championship for the 15th consecutive season.
O’Donnell was a 2011 all-BIG EAST second team selection after posting a sparkling 10-1 record and a 3.45 ERA as a sophomore. Her 10-0 mark during the 2011 regular season was the first Notre Dame undefeated regular season campaign for a pitcher with 10 or more decisions in program history.
An avid participant in more than 20 different community service initiatives during her four years at Notre Dame, O’Donnell helped the Irish win the 2011 and 2013 Trophy Award, which recognizes Notre Dame varsity athletic teams that demonstrate excellence in service to Notre Dame and the surrounding South Bend community. She was also a team member for the first three years of Notre Dame’s Strikeout Cancer initiative, which has raised more than $75,000 since 2011 to benefit South Bend’s Memorial Children’s Hospital and children across the state of Indiana battling cancer.
A native of Avon, N.J., O’Donnell graduated with a degree in psychology from the College of Arts and Letters in May 2013. She was a four-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star during her Notre Dame career, and was named the softball recipient of the 2013 Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award, presented each season to the graduating softball senior with the highest grade point average.
O’Donnell becomes the fourth Notre Dame graduate on the current Irish coaching staff, joining associate coaches Kris Ganeff (’99) and Lizzy Lemire (’01), and director of softball operations John Whitty (’10).
Though her last year as a player will soon come to an end, senior pitcher Brittany O’Donnell is not ready to complete a journey that began as a kid and will return to coach the Irish next year.
“When I was seven years old, I stepped foot on campus with my family for the first time,” O’Donnell said. “Ever since then, I’ve wanted to come to the University of Notre Dame. There is so much tradition and prestige associated with the University and I wanted to be part of the Irish mystique.”
O’Donnell worked hard to fulfill that dream. In high school, she posted 1,247 strikeouts with a 79-13-1 career record. She was named an ESPN/Under Armour All-American two years in a row and received first team EA Sports All-American honors.
At Notre Dame, O’Donnell has continued her success. As a freshman, she struck out 71 batters and finished with a 3.71 ERA. As a sophomore, she was named second team all-Big East, finishing her season 10-1. Last season, she was named a Big East Academic All-Star and completed her season with an 11-5 record.
O’Donnell said she improved significantly each year she played with the Irish.
“As a player, I have grown both mentally and physically,” O’Donnell said. “I have become stronger and, with the help of my coaches, been able to fine-tune all of my pitches.”
Aside from the improvements in the technical aspects of her pitching, O’Donnell said Notre Dame gave her a confidence in her game she’s never had before.
“I feel I’m able to confidently face any challenge thrown my way and overcome it successfully,” O’Donnell said.
Now approaching graduation, O’Donnell said she’s not ready to end her time with the team.
“Next year, while finishing up my teaching credentials, I will be joining the current coaches and becoming part of the Notre Dame coaching staff,” O’Donnell said. “After that I will pursue a career as an elementary school teacher in pediatric oncology units. I will be working in a hospital setting assuring that the patients receive the proper schooling to reach their academic potential without falling behind.”
In the meantime, O’Donnell will coach the girls she now calls her teammates, teaching them to lead in her place.
“Having the ability to give insight on and off the field to my teammates is an awesome value that I have learned through my prior teammates,” O’Donnell said. “Leadership is a quality that the coaches and Notre Dame [have] instilled in all of their athletes.”
Intensity's Waldrop named All American
May 30, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - Florida State softball pitcher Lacey Waldrop earned a special recognition this week when she was honored as a National Fastpitch Coaches Association Third-Team All-American, announced by the NFCA.
A native of Chester, Va., Waldrop becomes the first All-American at Florida State since 2009 and the 26th in the program’s illustrious history. Prior to Waldrop’s honor, the last Seminole to be named an All-American was former pitcher Sarah Hamilton.
"This is an incredible and deserving honor for Lacey. It is a testament to how hard she works and how much love she has for the game," head coach Lonni Alameda said of her second All-American at FSU. "Lacey came into the season with the mindset of being even better than she was as a freshman, and I think she reached that goal. We’ve got two more years of her in the circle for us and I cannot wait to see what she can accomplish next."
Boasting a tremendous freshman season in 2012, Waldrop gained even more ground this season as she was instrumental in leading Florida State to its first NCAA Super Regional appearance since 2006. She finished 24-10 in 2013 with a 1.53 ERA and 259 strikeouts in 219.1 innings pitched. Waldrop’s 24 victories are the most by a pitcher at Florida State since former player Terese Gober recorded the same amount in 2009.
Adding to Waldrop’s impressive season numbers were her 17 complete games, five shutouts, two saves and just six home runs allowed. The deceptive pitcher also recorded seven double-digit strikeout performances this season, and induced nearly three times as many groundouts as flyouts.
Waldrop was named ACC Pitcher of the Week three times this season and earned a spot on the All-ACC First Team. She was the only player from the conference to be named to one of three NFCA All-America teams, and led the ACC in earned run average and opposing batting average.
One of the crowning moments of Waldrop’s season came on March 27 when she baffled rival Florida on the road to the tune of 18 strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched. That performance included striking out Florida’s top four hitters in the order a combined 10 times.
Waldrop also earned NFCA Southeast Region Second Team honors this season. She is now the 10th Seminole pitcher to earn All-America accolades, joining Susan Painter (1982), Christy Larsen (1991), Toni Gutierrez (1992), Renee Espinoza (1996), Kristy Fuentes (1997), Leslie Malerich (2000, 2001), Jessica van der Linden (2003, 2004), Casey Hunter (2004) and Sarah Hamilton (2009).
Stay tuned to Seminoles.com as well as Florida State softball’s Twitter handle (@FSU_Softball) and Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUsoftball) to keep up with all the offseason coverage heading into the 2014 year.
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