Softball field to be named for UMass coach Elaine Sortino
JERREY ROBERTS The University of Massachusetts will name its softball complex after longtime coach Elaine Sortino Saturday. Purchase photo reprints »
AMHERST — From the moment the UMass Softball Complex opened in 2000, most people assumed that it would eventually be named after longtime coach Elaine Sortino. It was simply a matter of when.
When, it turns out, will be Saturday at 11 a.m. The University of Massachusetts announced Tuesday that the Minutewomen will now play on Elaine Sortino Field. The official dedication will take place prior to the annual alumni game.
Among the more than 70 former players, managers and assistant coaches expected to attend are members of the 1992 Women’s College World Series squad, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to be able to honor her in this way,” UMass athletic director John McCutcheon said. “Obviously her contributions to, not only softball here at UMass, but softball on a regional and national level are unbelievable. She’s a treasure. To be able to recognize her achievements and commitment to this university in this way is really fitting. We’re excited about it.”
Whitney Mollica, who graduated in 2009 and is the Amherst College softball coach, will attend the event.
“I think it’s fantastic. It couldn’t happen to a more caring, competitive, compassionate person,” Mollica said. “Every ounce of that program she supports to the fullest. Every thing about her life has to do with UMass softball. She could be the most dedicated person I’ve come across. I only hope to exemplify the same things with all the things I do in my life.”
University guidelines dictate that unnamed buildings can be named for a person if an endowment is established equivalent to 25 percent of the replacement cost of the building. UMass raised $350,000 to put Sortino’s name on the field.
“We’ve always had this intent. We wanted to do it the right way,” McCutcheon said. “Obviously there are some guideline that have to be followed in order to do namings.”
After being limited in the spring during her treatment, Sortino has returned to coaching full time. The 2013 season will be her 34th at UMass, where she’s amassed a 1,167-483-6 record. She’s led UMass to 23 conference titles, 21 NCAA tournaments and three trips to the Women’s College World Series.
A 2004 inductee to the National Fastpitch Hall of Fame, Sortino is the fourth winningest coach in NCAA history. She’s also an associate athletic director and the department’s senior women’s administrator.
Sortino could not be reached for comment.
Matt Vautour can be reached at email@example.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.