In addition to the Tufts Softball staff, Play Big softball clinics are often staffed by some of the best coaches in New England. For more information about what other coaches might be attending a certain clinic, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under head coach Cheryl Milligan, the Tufts University Softball program became the first team in NCAA Division III history to win three consecutive NCAA Division III championships from 2013-2015.
In the spring of 2015, Tufts finished 51-0 while capturing the national championship. The 7-4 victory over the University of Texas-Tyler in the national final extended Tufts' NCAA Division III record winning streak to 53 games, dating back to the two wins which clinched the 2014 national title over Salisbury. The 2015 Tufts team tied the NCAA Div. III record for the most wins in a season (51) with the 2011 Linfield team.
The Jumbos have played in five of the last seven NCAA Finals. Prior to the three straight national titles, Milligan coached the Jumbos into the NCAA Finals in 2009 and 2012 as well. The 2012 team finished tied for fifth nationally and the 2009 squad was fourth. During these years, Tufts had remarkable records of 44-3 (.936) in 2009, 41-7 (.854) in 2012, 46-3 (.939) in 2013 and 47-4 (.922) in 2014 before last year's prefect season. Tufts' 51-0 record last year is the best in NCAA history, while 2009, 2013 and 2014 all rank among the all-time top 20 for winning perfentage.
The 2013 Tufts squad was the first New England team to win the NCAA Softball Championship since Eastern Connecticut State University in 1990. Coach Milligan and her staff were recognized as the National Coaching Staff of the Year at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) convention that year. They have won that award for both the 2014 and 2015 seasons as well.
Tufts won four straight NCAA Regional/Super Regional championships and six overall during Milligan's tenture. They have also earned four consecutive New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crowns and 10 in total. Milligan has been named NESCAC Coach of the Year four straight times and is an eight-time recipient overall. Her teams have a combined record of 406-112 for an outstanding .784 winning percentage.
The Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) presented Allyson Fournier, a pitcher recruited to Tufts by Coach Milligan and her staff, with the Honda Sports Award as NCAA Division III Athlete of the Year in both 2013 and 2015. Fournier was a NFCA First Team All-American four straight years. Eleven Jumbos have earned All-American honors during Milligan's tenure. She has also coached nine NESCAC Players of the Year. Her 2005 Tufts team led the nation in home runs per game with a 1.20 average, currently the 19th-best single-season mark NCAA Div. III history. Milligan recruit Jo Clair is third all-time on the NCAA home runs list with 67 from 2011-14.
A 1995 Tufts graduate, Milligan was a four-year starter at shortstop and an assistant coach for six years. She was promoted to head coach of the Jumbos in July 2003. She played every inning of the 120 games during her Tufts softball career. Her .377 career batting average is 10th all-time, and she is eighth on the team’s career runs scored list with 119. Milligan was a member of the class that vaulted the softball program into annual post-season contention. The 1995 team hosted and won the ECAC North Championship, finishing with 31 wins.
Lauren Ebstein came back to join the Jumbos staff as an assistant in the summer of 2013 and was promoted to Associate Head Coach in the summer of 2014. She has been on staff for two of the three NCAA National Championships including, the 2015 season when the Jumbos were 51-0.
The Jumbos have played in the NCAA Tournament all three seasons that Ebstein has been on staff, and won NESCAC Championships in 2014 and 2015. She has been on staff for two NFCA Coaching Staff of the year awards, and was able two spend two years working with Allyson Fournier, a four-time All-American, two-time Honda Award winner and the first Division III player to play in the National Pro Fastpitch League.
Prior to returning to Tufts, Ebstein spent one season at Valparaiso University, working with the pitcher and catchers during the Crusaders 2013 Horizon League Championship. The Crusaders won the Horizon League Championship and played in the Ann Arbor Regional at nationally-ranked Michigan, winning the program’s first ever NCAA tournament game. Under her guidance, a freshman pitcher was ranked 16th in Division I in strikeouts per seven innings, broke the school’s single season strikeout record and finished the regular season leading the Horizon League in ERA and strikeouts.
During her two seasons at Colgate, Ebstein helped the Raiders to a 28-11 mark in Patriot League play, including the conference regular season title in 2011. She coached Patriot League Pitcher of the Year in 2011 and three All-Conference pitchers during her two years on staff in addition to ten total All-Conference honorees. Colgate pitchers were selected as the Patriot League Pitcher of the Week seven times.
Prior to her stint at Colgate, Ebstein was an assistant here at Tufts for two seasons, including serving on staff in 2009 when the Jumbos finished in fourth place at the Division III College World Series. Part of the NFCA Division III New England Region Coaching Staff of the Year in 2009, she helped coach a pair of conference championship teams and 14 All-NESCAC honorees over her two seasons on staff, including a NESCAC Pitcher of the Year and two NFCA All-Americans.
A 2007 graduate of Tufts, Ebstein was a four-year letter winner for the Jumbos when the Jumbos won the NESCAC Championship in 2007 and appeared in three NCAA Regionals during her time wearing brown and blue. A captain her senior year, Ebstein graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology and earned her master’s degree in journalism from Boston University in January of 2009.