Most recently named the Patriot League and ECAC Coach of the Year in 2018, Ashley Waters enters her fourth season at the helm after leading the Boston University softball team to three consecutive Patriot League tournament final appearances, highlighted by conference titles in both 2016 and 2018. A former America East Player and Scholar-Athlete of the Year, she was named the seventh head coach in program history by director of athletics Drew Marrochello on July 7, 2015.
This past year was a historic one, as the Terriers claimed the third most wins in program history with a 39-20 record, highlighted by a 4-3 upset victory over then-No. 1 Oklahoma for the New England region's first-ever win against the nation's top-ranked ranked team. They went 15-3 in conference play to clinch their first Patriot League regular season title since joining the conference in the summer of 2013 and also host its first conference tournament since 2012. They then swept through the competition with a pair of run-rule victories to claim their second PL title in three years under Waters and return to the NCAAs for the ninth time.
Prior to the PL tournament, the Terriers swept through the major PL honors with junior Alex Heinen becoming the second catcher in PL history to be named the Player of the Year. Heinen was the consecutive Terrier to earn the recognition after Jilee Schanda was tabbed in 2017. Senior Brittany Younan was named Defensive Player of the Year, while freshman Ali DuBois became the first Terrier in program history to be named by a conference the Pitcher and Rookie of the Year in the same season. Tallying a school-record 28 wins and PL-tying record 11 shutouts, DuBois added to her awards haul by becoming the second in PL history to earn ECAC Rookie of the Year honors. Junior Madi Killebrew added one more major award by posting a PL tournament record 10 RBIs to earn tournament MVP accolades.
During the 2018 season, BU won eight straight non-conference games in March for its longest streak since 2006. The Terriers later won 15 straight contests in April for their longest win streak since 2001 and to tie the 2015 Lehigh squad for the longest in PL history. They batted .291 for the season, fifth highest average in program history, while leading the NCAA with 32 triples. Heinen posted 71 hits (t-7th in PL history) and 50 RBIs (No. 2 in PL history), while Wong reached home plate 52 times (No. 3 in PL history).
In 2017, the Terriers finished the regular season on a 14-game conference-win streak and advanced to the Patriot League championship round for the second-consecutive year before coming up just short to top-seed Lehigh on the road. Other highlights include BU winning at No. 23 Florida Atlantic for the program's first victory over a ranked team since 2012 and beating defending Big West champion Cal State Fullerton.
For the second time under Waters, a Terrier claimed a major conference year-end award with junior Jilee Schanda earning Patriot League Player of the Year honors after she hit a league-high .436 during conference play. A total of six players received All-Conference accolades as well. Off the field, the team had a program-record three players earn conference All-Academic Team honors with 14 total being named to the Patriot League's Academic Honor Roll.
In her first year, the Terriers experienced a major turnaround after being selected fourth in the preseason poll due to a 17-27 record in 2015. Under her watch, they exceeded expectations by placing third in the regular season standings and sweeping through the conference tournament to reach the NCAAs. BU improved its batting average by 20 points to .300 and increased the previous year's fielding percentage from .958 to .970.
The Terriers had six players earn All-Conference honors with senior Melanie Russell claiming her first-ever Patriot League Pitcher of the Year award. Junior shortstop Brittany Younan was a unanimous All-PL First Team selection as well. Both women were left empty handed a year prior. Other highlights include a seven-game win streak, and BU bringing the game-tying run to the plate at ninth-ranked Louisiana Lafayette in the sixth inning of the opening round of the NCAAs on ESPN2.
Accepting her first head-coaching position at BU, Waters was quite familiar with the Terriers, as she has served as the top assistant at Harvard for the last three seasons after earning many conference and national honors as an infielder for the Maine Black Bears from 2006-09.
"When we conduct a search for a head coach, we are focused on finding the right fit for not just our team but for BU," Marrochello said at the time of her hiring. "And for every category we identified -- providing our students with a top-notch experience, supporting the academic pursuits of students attending a prestigious university, competing at the highest level nationally and understanding the softball landscape in Massachusetts and the Northeast -- Ashley checked every box. We're thrilled to welcome her to the Terrier family, and look forward to watching her impact on our students and our softball program."
The Amesbury, Massachusetts, native was also the 2005 recipient of The Boston Globe Will McDonough Award as Massachusetts Female Athlete of the Year.
"I am excited to join the Boston University community, to work with the student-athletes and to maintain and elevate the softball program's tradition of success," said Waters. "I would like to thank Drew Marrochello for this incredible opportunity; I am honored to be a Terrier. I loved my time at Harvard and am forever grateful to Jenny Allard and the athletic department for their support and development the past three years. I am thrilled to continue my career in Boston and eager to embrace this new chapter."
During her tenure at Harvard, Waters focused on coordinating infield and hitting instruction along with recruiting efforts. She helped the Crimson post 73 victories, highlighted by a 14-3-1 Ivy League record in 2014, and claim 17 total all-conference honors. Three-time All-Ivy League honoree Katie Lantz improved her batting average by 100 points over the last two years to a team-high .350 and was nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award in June.
Prior to joining the Crimson, Waters served as an assistant coach for the Charmers Under-18 Gold team from 2011-12 in Shelton, Conn., where she was involved in player development, recruitment and organizing practices. She was the head coach and administrative coordinator for the Wicked U18 team based in Newtown, Conn., from 2009-11.
She got her start in collegiate coaching just after graduation, as she spent the fall of 2009 as an assistant on the Maine coaching staff. She also played with the Stratford Brakettes from 2008-12, helping the team capture back-to-back Women's Major Softball national championships (2010, 2011) while being named to the national championship All-Tournament Team in 2011 and 2012 as a second baseman.
In four years as an infielder for Maine, Waters accumulated numerous academic and athletic awards. The two-time team captain received America East All-Conference First Team accolades in her junior and senior seasons while earning Player of the Year honors in 2008 behind a .352 batting average, 10 homers and 30 RBIs. She was also a two-time NFCA All-Region honoree.
Success in the classroom led to her being named a four-time NFCA Academic All-American and four-time America East Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll member. She was named to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District squad twice, was a three-time member of the America East All-Academic team and was dubbed America East Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2008. She was also involved with Phi Beta Kappa and the Golden Key National Honor Society.