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Class of 2008
Muskingum: 1975 - 2011
Donna Newberry, the all-time winningest coach in the history of Division III softball when she passed away in November 2010, spent 36 seasons with Muskingum College athletics. During that time she brought the Muskies from a slowpitch team to a perennial national contender in NCAA Division III.
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.
Newberry was the only Division III coach to be named national coach of the year in two sports – softball and basketball. As Muskingum’s women’s basketball coach, Newberry earned 403 victories and three OAC championships. Her 1991 team finished as the national runner-up, falling to St. Thomas in the NCAA Division III national championship game. During her 36-year career at Muskingum, she served as instructor, coach of women's basketball, softball, field hockey, and volleyball, women's athletics director and assistant athletics director.
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 Guyana 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.”
Newberry demonstrated her perseverance as she coached what would be her final season in the spring of 2010. While undergoing chemotherapy treatments during her third bout with breast cancer, she led the Lady Muskies to the Ohio Athletic Conference tournament for the 25th consecutive time.
In the months before her passing, Muskingum dedicated its softball field in her honor, renaming it the Donna J. Newberry Softball Field. In addition, Newberry finished her book about her coaching career and experiences — "You Must Play to Win: A Coach's Journey from the Pit to the Pinnacle.”
She was born on Nov. 14, 1951, in Parkersburg, West Virginia. She graduated from Glenville State College and earned her master’s degree from Ohio University.