GOSHEN -- Dawn Austin has resigned as head softball coach at Goshen College after seven years in the position.
Austin, the third coach in the 11-year history of the program, resigns after compiling a record of 108-137-1 overall and 41-56-1 in the Mid-Central Conference.
"It's rare that you're able to find a person of Dawn's coaching ability and expertise who is in the community and is able to fill a part-time position to the degree that she did," said Ken Pletcher, Goshen College athletic director. "She was able to take a program from its very beginnings to a program that could compete not only in our conference, but at the NAIA regional level successfully."
After inheriting a program that had won just 18 games in its first four seasons, Austin quickly became the program's winningest coach following her arrival to Goshen in 1997. Goshen's teams improved in each of Austin's first five seasons at the helm, culminating with the Mid-Central Collegiate Conference championship in 2001. That team's 24-12 record still stands as the program's best win-loss mark.
Austin cited personal reasons for her resignation, noting the need to make more room in her daily schedule. Austin is the head of a three-team softball program for 18-and-under girls during the summer months, and also has worked as a private pitching instructor for the past eight years in addition to her duties as Goshen's head softball coach. These factors, coupled with her family's needs -- Dawn and husband Steve have two children -- were enough to warrant a change.
"Any decision like this is an extremely tough one to make, but I am confident in my decision to step down," Austin said. "I've had a lot of things on my plate for the past few years, and something had to give somewhere. The toughest part about this was having to tell the players, because you feel like you're letting the kids down. You're part of a true family, and it was very difficult to tell them I wouldn't be coming back."
A 1989 Central High School graduate and winner of the Catherine Wolf Award as Elkhart's outstanding senior female athlete, Austin went on to become an All-Big Ten pitcher and outfielder at Penn State University, graduating in 1993. She spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Notre Dame before taking over at Goshen in 1997.
Austin said she plans to continue to lead her summer league club and increase her time in private pitching instruction. She plans to give lessons on a more regular basis out of a soon-to-be opened sports center in Elkhart.
"Economics and family priorities came into my decision to move on, but I'm grateful for the flexibility this job has given me over the years," Austin said. "I've been able to coach at an extremely high level while having time for my kids, and Goshen is the reason for that."
Pletcher said the search process for a new head softball coach has already begun.