Sharonda McDonald, a nine-year coaching veteran who most recently helped the University of Florida reach the Women’s College World Series finals, has been hired by Ohio State as an assistant coach. She will join the Buckeyes in August at the conclusion of her first season as head coach of the Chicago Bandits in the National Pro Fastpitch League (NPF).
“In every way, Sharonda fits what we’re looking for,” said Kovach Schoenly. “She’s been around championship-caliber teams both as a player and a coach and will have a great ability to connect with our student-athletes on and off the field. She’s widely respected in coaching circles and the combination of her experiences will enhance the positive momentum we’re experiencing at every level of the program. It was clear during this process that Ohio State attracts incredibly talented people, and Sharonda rose to the top of the group.”
With McDonald’s assistance, the Gators won the SEC regular season title in both 2016 and 2017, went 114-17 overall and appeared in the 2017 Women’s College World Series finals for the third time in the last four seasons. McDonald oversaw the development of the outfield, which included Amanda Lorenz, the program’s first-ever SEC and NFCA Freshmen of the Year. She also instructed slap hitters, base runners and served as the program’s recruiting coordinator, playing a vital role in the Gators securing two classes that were ranked in the top-10 nationally.
“I’m thrilled for this wonderful opportunity to join Ohio State and the Big Ten Conference,” said McDonald. “In making this decision, I was extremely impressed with the overall culture and direction of the program under Coach Schoenly’s leadership. I look forward to getting to campus and starting to work with the coaches, staff, and players.”
This summer, McDonald is serving as the head coach of one of NPFs perennial powers, the Chicago Bandits. No stranger to the league, McDonald spent six seasons playing professionally. In 2014, she finished her career with the USSSA Pride after playing the 2010-12 seasons for the Akron Racers and the 2007-08 seasons with the Philadelphia Force. In addition to the NPF, McDonald spent the 2009 season playing with the Fiorini Softball Club of the Italian Professional League.
A three-time All-NPF selection during her career, McDonald garnered the prestigious Diamond Spikes Award in 2012 after hitting .303 with 13 stolen bases while with the Racers. She ended the 2014 season with a career average over .270 to go along with more than 100 runs scored during her professional career.
The Houston Texas native made four collegiate coaching stops prior to arriving at Florida. In 2015, she served as an associate head coach at Texas Tech. In her one season in Lubbock, Texas, McDonald helped the Aggies finish the season with wins in a school-record four-straight Big XII series and nine of the last 12 games overall. Under her tutelage, outfielder Kristi Belshe made the All-Big XII second team.
As a volunteer assistant coach at LSU in 2013 and 2014, McDonald and the nationally-ranked Tigers made back to back NCAA Regional appearances. While coaching the outfield, McDonald developed A.J. Andrews into an All-American who was along the SEC and NCAA leaders in hits, batting average, and stolen bases.
McDonald spent three seasons (2010-12) as an assistant coach at Ohio University alongside Jenna Hall, who just completed her fifth season on Ohio State’s staff and serves as the Buckeyes’ hitting coach. McDonald and Hall contributed to the Bobcats winning the 2011 Mid-American Conference East Division and appearing in the 2011 MAC championship game. During her tenure, Ohio had six different players secure All-MAC accolades.
McDonald began her coaching career as an assistant coach for Texas Southern in 2009. Under her supervision, the Tigers more than doubled their stolen base output from the season before, sparked by Latrece Shello’s 17 steals.
A standout outfielder during her playing days for national power Texas A&M, McDonald played for the Aggies from 2004-07. In that time, she garnered NFCA All-Region honors three times and a quartet of All-Big 12 selections. She holds Aggie single-season records for runs scored (60) and stolen bases (48) and also ranks as the program’s all-time leader in both categories (195 runs, 153 stolen bases). Her 48 steals in 2005 led the nation and helped her earn the 2005 NCAA Division I Softball Golden Shoe Award awarded to the nation’s top baserunner.
McDonald holds A&M’s sixth-best career average at .338 and is second all-time with 249 hits. She also boasts the Aggies’ top three single-season stolen base marks and set a NCAA record by swiping 73 consecutive bases. As a senior in 2007, she led the Aggies back to the Women’s College World Series for the first time in 20 years.
McDonald received a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Texas A&M in 2008.
• McDonald finished her professional playing career in 2014 by winning the Cowles Cup title for the USSSA Pride.
• McDonald garnered the NPF’s prestigious Diamond Spikes Award in 2012 after hitting .303 with 13 stolen bases while with the Akron Racers.
• Three teams from the SEC advanced to the Women’s College World Series and McDonald had ties to all three. She played at Texas A&M and coached at both LSU and Florida.
• As a both a player and a coach, McDonald has competed in eight NCAA Regionals, three NCAA Super Regionals and two Women’s College World Series.
• During her McDonald’s two seasons in Gainesville, Florida stole bases at a 86 percent clip (169-for-197) and led the nation in fielding percentage both years (.984 and .985, respectively).
|The McDonald File
||Head coach, Chicago Bandits
||Bandits have won four Cowles Cup titles
||Assistant coach, University of Florida
||No. 1 national seed, WCWS finalist in ‘17
||Associate head coach, Texas Tech
||Won four of six Big 12 series
||Volunteer assistant coach, LSU
||80 wins, two NCAA Regional appearances
||Assistant Coach, Ohio University
||Coached six All-MAC selection
||Assistant coach, Texas Southern
||Tigers more than doubled stolen-base output
||Center fielder, Texas A&M
||Aggies’ all-time runs, stolen bases leader