STARKVILLE, Miss. – The National Fastpitch Coaches Association joins with the entire softball community in mourning the loss of NFCA Hall of Famer and Muskingum head coach Donna Newberry, who lost her long battle with cancer on Wednesday.
“Donna Newberry was a great coach, not just because of her win-loss column, but because she cared deeply about her players, the game and all that was right about sport,” said NFCA Executive Director Lacy Lee Baker. “She'll be deeply missed, but her contributions have helped build a strong foundation for all of us to work from.”
Newberry, the all-time winningest coach in the history of Division III softball, spent 36 seasons at the helm of the Muskingum program. During that time she brought the Muskies from a slowpitch team to a perennial national contender in fastpitch.
Through 36 seasons, Newberry amassed a record of 906-419-1 and helped guide Muskingum to 17 conference championships, 18 NCAA regional appearances, eight national championship appearances and the 2001 NCAA Division III Softball National Championship.
Though never seeking recognition, Newberry’s love and dedication to the game brought her numerous accolades over the years. She was a 10-time Ohio Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, a seven-time NFCA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year honoree and in 2001, the Muskingum staff was named as the NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year. In 2008, Newberry took a well-deserved place in softball history, when she was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame.
While Newberry’s life was a journey that led her from once coaching four sports at a time, to the jungles of Guayna and back, the one thing Newberry always gave heart and soul to was coaching and molding young ladies into women.
“I can’t even imagine doing anything else,” Newberry said upon her induction to the NFCA Hall of Fame. “I love the competiveness. I love the churning of the stomach when you have to play big teams, the gratification when you beat them and the disappointment of when you lose to them. I can’t imagine staying young without that.”
Calling hours will be from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, November 12 at the Mock-Miller Funeral Home in New Concord. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 13 at the New Concord Church of Christ, with an hour of calling preceding the service from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, Newberry’s family has asked that any memorial donations be sent to the Women’s Softball Program (fundraising account) at Muskingum University, 163 Stormont Street, New Concord, Ohio, 43762-1118.