Jennifer Teague enters her sixth season as head coach of the Columbia softball program. She was named the third head coach in program history in July of 2014. Teague was the former head coach at the University of Buffalo and assistant coach at Michigan State.
Teague led the Lions to a record season in 2019 and was named Ivy League Coach of the Year. Columbia finished the campaign with an overall record of 24-21, including a 15-6 mark in Ivy League play, setting a new program record for Ivy League wins for the second year in a row. Columbia's second-place finish in the regular season standings was its highest in the team's 20-year history and earned the Lions their first ever trip to the Ivy League Playoff Series. The Lions also put together back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2001-02.
On the way to the team's unprecedented success in 2019, Columbia led the Ivy League through the regular season in runs (206), home runs (31), RBIs (180) and walks (123). Additionally, Teague coached seven Lions to All-Ivy League honors, including a program-record four first-team selections and five combined first- and second-team honorees. First-year pitcher Alexa Pinarski went 13-9 to win the second-most games by a Lion rookie, while also becoming the first rookie to earn First Team All-Ivy League honors in 16 years. Junior third baseman Max Ortega tied the team record for RBIs (40) to earn her first-team accolades. Meanwhile, fellow first-team selections Maria Pagane and Sommer Grzybek went on to earn NFCA All-Region honors, marking the first time in Columbia history two Lions were named to an all-region team.
The team's 2019 success came on the heels of a 2018 season that saw Teague's Lions go 21-19, 13-8 Ivy League, posting their first overall winning season since 2002 and first winning Ivy League season in program history. Along the way, Columbia set eight statistical offensive team records: batting average (.303), slugging percentage (.506), runs (244), triples (12), home runs (48), RBIs (218), total bases (573) and walks (131). Senior Taylor Troutt was named Ivy League Player of the Year, garnering the program's first Player of the Year honor. Troutt set new program single-season records in batting average (.455), slugging percentage (.797) and on-base percentage (.507). Senior Madison Gott joined her as a First Team All-Ivy League selection, wrapping up her four-year career as the Columbia softball program's all-time leader in runs (96), total bases (333), doubles (42), home runs (30) and RBIs (120). Gott became the program's first to be named Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Player of the Week (March 20), following two extra-inning home runs in a series victory over Penn.
The conclusion of the 2018 season saw a total of eight Lions earn All-Ivy League honors. Along with Troutt's and Gott's First Team selections, sophomores Sommer Grzybek and Amanda Nishihira were selected Second Team All-Ivy League. Additionally, sophomore pitchers Madison Canby and Erin Gallo joined first-year infielders Max Ortega and Maria Pagane as All-Ivy League Honorable Mentions. The eight total selections marked the most in the program's 19-year history.
The 2017 Lions won 20 games and started 5-0 in the Ivy League for the first time in program history, which included home sweeps over Harvard and Dartmouth. Teague also coached the Lions to a 10-4 (.714) record at home, tying for the best home winning percentage in program history, which included an 8-0 start to mark their longest home winning streak since setting the program record with 12 straight in 2014. Columbia set multiple offensive team records during the year, including runs scored (205), home runs (37), RBIs (184) and total bases (539). The Lions led the Ivy League in runs, hits (347), doubles (69), home runs, RBIs (184) and walks, while ranking No. 2 in slugging (.436).
At the end of the season, first-year Sommer Grzybek was named Second Team All-Ivy League, while junir Madison Gott, sophomore Bonnie Schipper and first-year Madison Canby all earned honorable mention. Gzybek and Gott each tied the single-season program record with 10 home runs, while Gott set team single-season records in batting average (.381), hits (59), total bases (102), RBI (40). Grzybek set a new program record in slugging (.690) and fellow first-year Madison Canby led the Ivy League in pitching appearances (34), while also ranking No. 2 in starts (24), wins (12) and innings pitched (146.0).
In 2016, Teague helped coach the Lions to a 16-32 overall record and a 7-13 Ivy League mark. Columbia set what was then a single-season program record with 33 home runs. Teague also saw a pair of honorable mention All-Ivy League accolades as Taylor Troutt and Krystin Wong both earned the nod.
For Troutt, the award marked the second-straight year for the sophomore who set Columbia's single-season records in slugging percentage (.669), total bases (93), home runs (10), and RBI (36) while leading the team with a .366 batting average in 2016.
Wong earned her first career postseason honor after finishing her rookie campaign with a .304 batting average and a .522 slugging percentage after hitting a double, three home runs and five RBI while working four walks for a .360 on-base percentage in Ivy League play.
In her first year as the head coach of Columbia, Teague led the Lions to a 16-28 record, including a 7-13 Ivy League mark, and saw four members of the squad recognized as members of the All-Ivy League squad.
Alix Cook picked up her third career all-conference nod with a first-team honor after hitting .315 in 20 games during Ivy League play, leading the team with 23 hits and 11 runs while adding four doubles. Shelby Unger and Tonia Wu picked up second team accolades for the Lions while then-first-year Taylor Troutt earned a spot on the All-Ivy honorable mention.
Prior to joining Columbia, Teague coached on the Michigan State staff for the 2013-14 season after serving five years as the head coach at the University of Buffalo.
In her tenure at the University of Buffalo, where she was just the second head coach in program history, Teague mentored seven All-Mid-American Conference selections. Under Teague, Buffalo received it’s first post-season recognition for a pitcher since 2004 (Tori Speckman), and freshman Alexis Curtiss became just the third Buffalo player ever to be named first team All-MAC in 2012.
“I am honored to be Columbia’s Head Softball Coach,” Teague said. “Everyone I have met through the search process has been incredibly engaged, helpful and enthusiastic. It became quickly evident that Columbia was a special place.”
Ten Buffalo players set single-season program records for the Division I era under her tutelage, while ten individual and nine team single-game records were established during Teague’s tenure.
In 2012, Teague led Buffalo to their best offensive season in school history, setting program bests in batting average, home runs, doubles and total bases. In 2011, Teague helped coach players on to both the All-MAC second team and the All-MAC Freshman Team. Teague led the UB to just their second ever trip to the Mid-American Conference Tournament. In her first season with UB, Teague led the Bulls to a record of 25-27 (7-15 MAC), which tied the most wins in a single season in UB's Division I softball era.
Prior to her time at Buffalo, Teague spent three years as the top assistant and pitching coach at Eastern Michigan. She also spent two seasons as the head coach of the Philadelphia Force of the National Pro Fastpitch League.
At Eastern Michigan, the Eagles had a 70-80 overall record in the three years Teague was on staff, including a 33-25 conference mark. The 2007 team finished first in the MAC West and won the overall MAC Title, making the team's first ever NCAA appearance. During the 2007 season, Teague helped the Eagles to a 2.83 team ERA, including seven shutouts. The pitching staff also limited opposing batters to a .245 average.
Following the 2007 collegiate season, Teague joined the Philadelphia Force of the National Pro Fastpitch League. She took over the coaching reins mid-season when the team was 7-9. With Teague at the helm, the Force went 17-11 and missed the playoffs after coming in a three-way tie for the last spot. While on staff, Teague helped the team lower its ERA and raise its batting average.
Teague remained head coach of the Force for the 2008 season and selected Katie Burkhart in the first round, who was the winning pitcher in the NCAA Championship game, pitching a four-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts.
Prior to joining the Eagles, Teague was a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Michigan during the Wolverine's national championship season. The Wolverines were the first team east of the Mississippi River to win a Women's College World Series national championship. Teague was part of a staff that garnered 2005 National Softball Coaching Staff of the Year honors.
A 1999 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, Teague arrived in Ann Arbor following a four-year head coaching stint with local NAIA school Concordia University from 2001-2004. Teague's run at Concordia was highlighted by one regional championship and the school's first-ever appearance in the NAIA National Championship in 2002.
A member of the NFCA, she started her coaching career as an assistant at her alma mater, Indiana Wesleyan, from 1999-2001 following a distinguished playing career, serving as a two-time co-captain. Teague earned NCCAA All-American honorable mention recognition as a senior (1999) after earning NFCA, NAIA and NCCAA All-Region honors as a junior in 1998. She was also her team's Most Valuable Offensive Player in 1998.