Michigan State names Sharonda McDonald-Kelley head softball coach

The decorated former pro player and longtime coach joins Michigan State after back-to-back NCAA tournament championship wins at Campbell University.

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With a proven track record of success both as a softball player and coach, Sharonda McDonald-Kelley is bringing excitement to fans of the Michigan State University (MSU) softball program following the announcement that she will take over the head coaching reigns.

“I want to thank God for this incredible opportunity,” McDonald-Kelley said in a news release, thanking Alan Haller, vice president and director of the school’s athletics program, who announced the hire on June 10.

McDonald-Kelley led Division I Campbell University in South Carolina to back-to-back NCAA tournament runs in 2021 and 2022, winning a total of 101 games with 81 losses during her four-year tenure with the program.

“I’m excited to welcome Sharonda McDonald-Kelley to our Spartan family,” Haller said in the news release. “She is a teacher of the game, with a proven track record of skill development, helping student-athletes maximize their potential as she did during her record-breaking college career.”

McDonald-Kelley earned the honor of Big South Coach of the Year in 2021 following wins in the Big South regular-season title and the NCAA tournament while at Campbell, and will now fill the head coaching vacancy left at MSU after the retirement of longtime coach Jacquie Joseph after 29 years.

“I have a lot of respect for Jacquie Joseph, for the foundation she’s built at Michigan State and for the ambassador she’s been for softball, the Big Ten and the Michigan State program,” McDonald-Kelley said, adding: “I am looking forward to building upon the foundation she laid and will continue to push the program forward.”

Stock Image via Pexels.

While playing at Texas A&M from 2004-07, McDonald-Kelley was selected for the All-Big 12 team four times and led the team to its first Women’s College World Series berth in over two decades.

She holds school records for career stolen bases with 153, holds the single-season record for runs with 60, and tied an all-time NCAA record with 73 stolen bases in a row.

During her seven-year pro career, McDonald-Kelley earned three selections to all-NPF rosters while playing for the Philadelphia Force, Akron Racers and USSA Pride. In 2012 while playing for the Racers, she won the Diamond Spikes Award for hitting .303 with 13 bases stolen.

McDonald-Kelley began her collegiate coaching career assisting at Texas Southern in 2009, and has coached for programs at LSU, Ohio State, and Texas Tech with consistent success.

“I am truly honored and excited for this opportunity,” she said about her new home at MSU. “We can build something really special here and I fully expect this team to be competing for conference championships. I am ready to get to work and put a great product on the field.”

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