When head coach Gina LaMandre was hired in 1995 to construct Maryland softball "from the ground up," it was her intent to build a first-class program. Now entering her 11th season, LaMandre has certainly achieved that goal, establishing the Terrapins as a force in the collegiate softball world.
This season, LaMandre's Terrapins add seven talented newcomers to the strong core from last year's 33-27 team. Eight starters return from a 2004 squad that finished fourth at the ACC Tournament and earned the program's 300th win. With veteran players starting at key positions and an impressive corps of rookies taking over roles, LaMandre expects her hardworking 2005 squad to adjust quickly.
In 1999 -- only the fifth season of the team's existence -- LaMandre guided the Terrapins a school-record 51 wins, garnering the school's first invitation to the NCAA Tournament and riding the wave of success all the way to the Region 2 final game.
LaMandre's effort was rewarded as she was named ACC Coach of the Year for the first time in her career. LaMandre and assistant coach Rachel Lawson were tabbed NFCA Mid-Atlantic Coaching Staff of the Year, marking the third time LaMandre was honored with that distinction.
The 1999 Terrapins experienced the most prolific season to date, making the school's first NCAA Tournament appearance and finishing the season ranked No. 12 in the nation. This ranking was the team's first top 25 citation in the program's short history. The Terrapins set a number of team records that season, including victories (51), at bats (1,940), hits (507), runs (316), doubles (88), home runs (39), RBI (277) and walks (205). Seven different Terps were singled out for postseason honors that year.
In the program's fourth season, the 1998 squad finished 28-22, posting a .560 winning percentage. Strides were made in conference play as well, as the Terrapins were also able to mark a 4-4 record against ACC opponents.
In 1997, the Terrapins took a tremendous step toward becoming a recognizable program. The Terps, in only their third year of existence, captured a share of the 1997 Atlantic Coast Conference championship with defending champion Florida State. Maryland finished the regular season at 26-23, and used a 3-1 ACC Tournament mark to claim a share of the title. LaMandre was rewarded by her peers for the second straight season, as the NFCA Coach of the Year for the Mid-Atlantic Region.
When LaMandre began her assault on constructing the Maryland program, she was handed a roster that included 16 underclassmen, and no aid of athletic scholarships. Despite the shortcomings, Maryland finished its inaugural Division I campaign with a 15-33 record.
The second season under LaMandre was even more promising. The Terrapins improved from their modest beginnings to a 33-24-1 mark in 1996. The Maryland pitching staff combined for a national-best 0.82 ERA, with then-freshman Kelly Shipman posting the second-best ERA in the nation (0.51). The efforts paid off in the end with LaMandre garnering NFCA Coach of the Year accolades, and Shipman earning ACC Rookie of the Year honors.
Bigger steps followed with the ACC Tournament run in 1997, followed by a third straight winning season in 1998.Prior to her arrival in College Park, LaMandre was an assistant coach at Massachusetts for eight seasons. Her primary responsibilities included developing the pitching staff and recruiting student-athletes. During her time with the Minutewomen, the mentor also earned a master's degree in exercise physiology.
LaMandre's involvement in softball dates to her playing days at Trenton State (now the College of New Jersey) where she was a two-time All-America pitcher in 1984 and 1985, and was named Trenton State's Female Athlete of the Year in 1985. She helped lead Trenton State to a national championship and went on to serve as pitching coach and strength and conditioning coach for one year before taking a job as an assistant coach at Massachusetts.
LaMandre is a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American College of Sports Medicine.
The LaMandre Ledger
The LaMandre Timeline Year School Position 1982-1985 Trenton State Student-Athlete 1986 Trenton State Pitching Coach 1987-1994 Massachusetts Assistant Coach 1995-present Maryland Head Coach
Coaching Record Year School Position Overall Pct. ACC Pct. Notes/Honors 1995 Maryland Head Coach 15-33 .313 0-4 .000 First Season of Varsity Program 1996 Maryland Head Coach 33-24-1 .578 2-6 .250 Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year 1997 Maryland Head Coach 26-23 .531 3-5 .375 Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year 1998 Maryland Head Coach 28-22 .560 4-4 .500 1999 Maryland Head Coach 51-23 .689 6-2 .750 ACC/Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year 2000 Maryland Head Coach 27-28 .491 3-5 .375 2001 Maryland Head Coach 39-23 .629 1-7 .125 2002 Maryland Head Coach 31-21 .596 2-3 .400 2003 Maryland Head Coach 27-18 .600 1-7 .250 2004 Maryland Head Coach 33-27 .550 1-9 .100 Totals Maryland Head Coach 310-242-1 .562 23-52 .307