Michigan State softball announced today that Sharonda McDonald-Kelley has been named the new head coach. She will replace former head coach Jacquie Joseph who retired after 29 seasons with the Spartans.
"I want to thank God for this incredible opportunity," McDonald-Kelley said in a press release. "I would also like to thank Vice President and Director of Athletics Alan Haller for the opportunity to lead the Michigan State softball program. The vision for the softball program and the investment into that vision was clear to me from the beginning. I could feel the pride ingrained in the culture of Michigan State athletics and know I will have the full support of the administration. Core values and family are very important to me. My family and I are excited to embrace the Spartan culture and become part of the community."
McDonald-Kelley spent the last four seasons as the head coach at Campbell University in North Carolina where she won two Big Ten South tournament titles, made NCAA regionals twice, and was named Big South Coach of the Year in 2021. She leaves the program with a 101-81 record.
"I'm excited to welcome Sharonda McDonald-Kelley to our Spartan family," Athletic Director Alan Haller said in the press release. "She's experienced great success as both a coach and a student-athlete, and has a plan to help Spartan softball achieve similar results. She is a teacher of the game, with a proven track record of skill development, helping student-athletes maximize their potential as she did during her record-breaking college career. She has a wealth of experience at several successful major Division 1 programs. And with her demonstrated success of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances as head coach at Campbell, she's proven she has the ability to successfully implement her approach in a short period of time.”
Before her head coaching career, she spent time as an assistant coach at Ohio State, Florida, LSU, Ohio and Texas Southern as well as an associate head coach at Texas Tech.
She played her college ball at Texas A&M where she was selected All-Big 12 all four years of her playing career and still holds the record for most bases stolen with 153. She also ranks second in hits and runs scored with 249 and 195 respectively and finished her college career with a .338 batting average. She graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in kinesiology.
After college, she spent seven years playing professionally for the Philadelphia Force, the Akron Racers and the USSA Pride in the NPF League. During her time in the NPF League she was awarded the Diamond Spikes Award for her .303 batting average and 13 stolen bases in 2012 and was a three-time all-NPF selection. She also played professionally for a year in Italy.
McDonald-Kelley will be tasked with getting the softball program back on track after they finished with a 24-28 record last season including going 4-16 in conference play.