Head coach Maria DiBernardi enters her 34th season at the helm of the Villanova Softball program in 2017-18. Throughout her 30 plus years on the Main Line, she has compiled an impressive 852-734-10 record. DiBernardi has spent all of her coaching career at Villanova and is the winningest coach in school history over that time. Two seasons ago, DiBernardi earned her 800th career win as a coach in an 8-7 victory against St. John’s on April 2, 2016.
The 2017 campaign was a memorable one, as the team won a total of 35 games and qualified for the BIG EAST Tournament with a 35-20 overall record and a 13-8 conference record. Under DiBernardi’s guidance, Brette Lawrence was named the 2017 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Pitcher of the Week and Lauren Herschberg received the 2016 BIG EAST Weekly Honor Awards.
DiBernardi registered her 750th career victory on Mar. 8th, 2014 as the Wildcats came back to knock-off Boston University 5-3 at the Under Armour Showcase in Clearwater, Fla. She notched her 700th win in the 2012 season on March 9th when Villanova defeated USC Upstate, 2-1. DiBernardi earned her 600th career victory on April 22, 2007 when her Wildcats posted a 1-0 shutout over conference rival Providence on the road. She reached her 650th victory on Feb. 21, 2010 in a victory over North Florida.
Associate Head Coach
Jessica O’Donnell enters her fifth season with the Villanova softball coaching staff in 2017-18. She serves as the associate head coach and aids head coach Maria DiBernardi with the day-to-day operations of the Wildcats program, along with being in charge of the infielders and catchers.
“I am honored and grateful to have the opportunity to work here at Villanova under Head Coach Maria DiBernardi. I can’t express how excited I am to have a successful mentor by my side throughout this process. From the minute that I stepped onto campus I knew I wanted to be apart of this highly respected University. The faculty and staff here at Villanova have been very welcoming and supportive since day 1. I am looking forward to competing for a championship with the Wildcat family!”
O’Donnell previously worked with the Francis Marion University softball staff as an assistant coach for two seasons. Her duties included arrangement of team travel itinerary, camps, community service, promotions and recruiting. Her role on the diamond involved the infield as she was a starting shortstop during her playing days.
Stephanie Sanders enters her second year as an assistant coach on the Villanova softball staff for the 2017-18 season. Sanders coaches the outfielders, while also assisting with hitting.
“I am very excited and blessed for this opportunity to work for such a prestigious university, as well as such a great mentor in Coach DiBernardi. There is such a sense of pride in this university that is incomparable. I am grateful for the Wildcat family for welcoming me with open arms. I look forward to being relentless in our journey to a BIG EAST Championship.”
Prior to coming to Villanova, Sanders was an assistant coach at Saginaw Valley State, where she coached the outfielders and hitting. She also helped with camps, clinics, strength and conditioning, and recruiting.