This is a continuation of our series of posts breaking down each major hire that IU Vice President and Director of Athletics Fred Glass has made during his tenure. You can find previous and future series entries here.
When Fred Glass hired Shonda Stanton in June of 2017, the IU softball team had a record of 105-169-1 over its past five seasons, including a 34-78 mark in Big Ten play. Stanton, on the other hand, was the head coach at Marshall for 18 seasons, where she became the winningest coach in program history with 560 wins. Glass hired a proven winner into a program that needed one.
The beginning of her first season was a nightmare, as the Hoosiers stood at 2-14 through the first 16 games of the season.
That was before they swept five conference opponents en route to a 17-6 record in the Big Ten portion of the schedule - the most conference wins by an Indiana team since 2011. That team also became the first IU team to get to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament since 2006. Tara Trainer and Maddie Westmoreland earned All-Big Ten First Team honors along the way, too.
How could Stanton take the next step and improve on a solid first year?
By doing exactly what she did this past season—start the season 14-0 and beat two top-10 teams during the opening stretch—the best opening stretch in program history.
Despite the fast start and consistent dominance from Trainer, the Hoosiers went 22-21 the rest of the way and just missed out on the NCAA tournament—something that just two years ago seemed like a pipe dream.
Stanton has done just what Fred Glass hired her to do up to this point—win games and coach winning teams. Her 54.9% winning percentage, 58.7% in conference play, in her first two seasons is a vast improvement from the team’s previous five-season-rate of 38.2% (30.4%).
Overall, it’s hard to ask for a whole lot more from Stanton and her two Hoosier teams. The first two years of any coach’s tenure should almost always be taken with a grain of salt. Now that Stanton has her recruits playing more and becoming the leaders of the team in the next two seasons, she has teed herself up perfectly to take the next step, which is get into the NCAA tournament—something they were oh-so-close to doing last season. She’s already changed the culture and won a whole lot of games, just what the program needed when she was hired. So far, so good.
Current grade: A