The Donna Newberry “Perseverance” Award recognizes an NFCA member coach who has demonstrated extraordinary strength of will and character in the fight to overcome a physical, mental, or social adversity that presented an additional challenge to the already demanding job of a coach. To nominate an individual for this award, you must be an NFCA member coach.
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.
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.
”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.