Shonda Stanton was named the program’s ninth head coach on June 10, 2017. Stanton came to the Hoosiers after 18 seasons at Marshall, where she was the winningest coach in program history with 560 victories.
In her second campaign at the helm of the Hoosiers, Stanton built upon the success of her inaugural season as the Hoosiers opened the year with a 14-0 mark, the best start in IU program history. Thanks to the hot start, Indiana earned a spot in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll, the first ranking for the team since 1996. IU would spend six straight weeks ranked, picking up wins against two top-10 teams in No. 6 Georgia (Feb. 10) and at No. 10 LSU (March 1), the first time that has been done at Indiana. IU’s final record of 36-21 was the best for the Hoosiers since the 2011 season, while the team’s non-conference record (26-8) was the best since 1986. The team impressed on the basepaths, setting the single-season IU record with 141, which is also good for the third-most by a Big Ten team in history.
For the second year in a row, pitcher Tara Trainer earned First Team NFCA All-Midwest Region honors as well as All-Big Ten accolades after leaving IU as one of the most decorated pitchers in Indiana history. This season, Trainer posted career-best numbers with a 1.82 ERA, 231 strikeouts and a 26-11 record. Trainer graduates second all-time in strikeouts (803), appearances (170) and games started (130). In addition, she is third in career wins (68) and innings pitched (742.0) and fourth in shutouts (19). Trainer became just the fourth Hoosier to be drafted in the National Pro Fastpitch league when she was selected 21st overall by the Aussie Peppers on April 15.
Sophomore Maddie Westmoreland also earned All-Region honors for the second year in a row, as well as becoming the first Hoosier since 1997-98 to being named First Team All-Big Ten in two straight years. Joining Westmoreland and Trainer on the All-Big Ten list was sophomore shortstop Grayson Radcliffe. Indiana placed 11 on the Academic All-Big Ten list.
In her first season in Bloomington in 2018, Stanton led the Hoosiers to a 26-30 overall mark, including a 17-6 conference record, the most Big Ten wins in a single season since 2011. Indiana finished third in the conference, clinching a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament. The Hoosiers swept five teams on their way to the third-place finish – No. 18 Ohio State, Michigan State, Maryland, Penn State and Purdue – the most conference sweeps since 2011. After defeating Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals, Indiana advanced to the tournament semifinal for the first time since 2006.
Stanton tallied her 600th career victory at Michigan State on March 31 with a 5-1 victory against the Spartans. Another 2018 highlight was the Hoosiers collecting 112 stolen bases, the third-most in program history and the most since the 1987 season.
For their efforts in 2018, three Hoosiers earned NFCA All-Midwest Region – Tara Trainer (First Team), Gabbi Jenkins (Third Team) and Maddie Westmoreland (Third Team). In addition, Trainer and Westmoreland were also named First Team All-Big Ten, while Jenkins and Rebecca Blitz earned Second Team honors. Blitz also earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Defensive Team as the conference’s top centerfielder. Westmoreland and Taylor Lambert were named to the conference’s All-Freshman squad. Off the field, 12 were honored with Academic All-Big Ten accolades and 11 earned NFCA All-America Scholar Athletes.
• 2017 Conference USA Coaching Staff of the Year
• Career record: 560-430-2 (18 seasons)
• Two NCAA Tournament Appearances
During her tenure, Stanton guided the Thundering Herd to two NCAA Tournament appearances, five conference championship games and led the team to two Mid-American Conference championships (2003 and 2005), a Conference USA regular season championship (2017) and Conference USA Tournament title (2013). In addition, the Thundering Herd posted 12 seasons with 30 or more wins during Stanton’s time in Huntington.
Under Stanton's guidance, Marshall was known for its speed as her teams ranked in the top 10 in stolen bases more than any other program since Stanton took over in 2000, including every year from 2009-17. For the third time since 2000, the Thundering Herd led the nation in stolen bases in 2017 with 162 on the year. Marshall saw two win the Golden Shoe Award for leading the nation in stolen bases under Stanton - current Indiana graduate student manager Morgan Zerkle in 2015 and Elicia D’Orazio in 2017. Six finished their Marshall careers with 100 or more stolen bases under Stanton, led by Zerkle's program record-setting 160 swiped bags.
This past season, Stanton guided Marshall’s return to the NCAA Tournament as the Thundering Herd earned an at-large bid and posted a program-record 42-12 mark. During the season, Marshall posted a 17-game winning streak in 2017 and a 20-4 conference record leading to Stanton and her staff of Kendall Fearn and Chanda Bell being picked as the Conference USA Coaching Staff of the Year. In addition, Marshall saw Zerkle win C-USA Player of the Year honors and Jordan Dixon win C-USA Pitcher of the Year. Both Zerkle and Dixon also earned NFCA All-American accolades.
In addition to the team's impressive base-stealing numbers, the team finished with a batting average of .300 or better for the third straight season as Marshall climbed as high as No. 23 in the national rankings.
Stanton recorded her 500th career win on March 23, 2016 in an 8-3 victory against UTEP.
In 2013, Marshall's Conference USA Tournament title led to the Herd’s first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Ky. Marshall picked up its first NCAA tournament win, 3-1, over Notre Dame on May 18.
Under Stanton's tutelage, Marshall saw 76 all-conference selections, nine conference Player, Pitcher or Freshman of the Year accolades, 34 NFCA All-Region picks and a four-time All-American in Rachel Folden. Zerkle was named to the Top 50 Watch List for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and played for the USA Softball National Team this past summer. In addition, Zerkle was the seventh player under Stanton’s guidance to reach the National Pro Fastpitch League.
Off the field, Marshall posted a team GPA of 3.0 in every semester of Stanton's career and had 118 named NFCA All-America Scholar-Athletes.
OTHER COLLEGIATE COACHING EXPERIENCE
Prior to joining Marshall, Stanton served as the head coach at IUPUI in 1998-99, where she led the Jaguars to a 27-25 mark in their first season as a Division I team.
After graduating college, Stanton served as a graduate assistant for Ashland University, where she received her Master’s of Education in Sports Science. During her time, the softball program set a school record for victories in a season (53), won a second consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) title and earned a second straight NCAA Division II playoff berth. In the 1997-98 season, the Eagles finished 53-6, won the conference championship and hosted its regional tournament. That season, the entire coaching staff was selected as the coaching staff of the year in the GLIAC. All in all, Ashland compiled a 94-23 record en route to successive bids to the NCAA National Tournament.
NATIONAL PRO FASTPITCH
Stanton spent the 2007 and 2008 summers coaching the Akron Racers of the National Pro Fastpitch league. Stanton guided the Racers to a regular season second place finish in 2007 with a 26-17 overall record. Stanton managed the Racers leading hitter Norrelle Dickson to a .387 batting average, a league best. Additionally, Akron's second baseman, Veronica Wootsen snagged the 2007 Nokona Gold Glove Offensive Player of the Year Award.
Stanton (maiden name Spagnola) was a four-year starter at UNC Greensboro and led the team to back-to-back Big South Conference championships. In addition, Stanton scored 66 runs during her senior campaign in 1995, good for eighth in the nation and most all-time in a single season at UNCG. She sits third in UNCG history in career runs scored (143) and ninth in stolen bases (41). Off the field, Stanton earned her Bachelor of Arts in History at UNCG and helped start the Spartan Heroes program at UNCG, which worked to increase community service initiatives.
Stanton played in the Women's ASA Fastpitch Summerball for the Chet Smith Lady All-Stars in Columbus, Ohio, and the Buckeye Slammers in Akron, Ohio, from 1994-96. Both teams were Class "A" National Qualifiers and the Slammers captured the Class "B" National Championship in 1994.
In October of 2016, Stanton was inducted into the North Olmstead High School Hall of Fame where she was a three-sport athlete and an 11-time letter award winner.
A member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Committee, Stanton has also served on the NFCA Head Coaches Council and was a voter in the NFCA Top-25. Stanton, who was named the Judy Sweet Award winner as a graduate of the NCAA Women Coaches Academy, served on the Coaches Council for the Alliance of Women Coaches. As an NFCA featured speaker and clinician, Stanton shot an instructional video series with Championship Productions.
Stanton and husband Joe have been married for 19 years and reside in Bloomington with their two daughters, Shayla (14), Gianna (11) and son, Josiah (6).