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Former BU Softball Standout Flourishing in Coaching Ranks
Yerdon-Grange leads Rochester to Division III College World Series
May 19, 2014Tweet
Contact: David O’Brian (dobrian@binghamton)
VESTAL, N.Y. – This past weekend, commencement ceremonies were held at the Events Center and over 70 of BU’s graduating student-athletes took part in the festivities. Nearly 200 miles away, however, a BU alumni athlete was making news of their own.
Margaret Yerdon-Grange, who concluded a standout softball career a dozen years ago, is the current head softball coach at Rochester University (which competes at the NCAA Division III level). On Saturday, she coached the Yellow Jackets to their first-ever appearance in the College World Series.
Rochester (32-12) advanced to the College World Series, which begins on Thursday in Tyler, Texas, by sweeping a pair of games against No. 15 Rowan. The clincher was a 3-0, nine-inning win on Saturday on its home field.
“From early on in the season, I knew this was going to be a special team,” Yerdon-Grange said. “Even though we started off a little slow, this team was really close and played for each other the whole year. It’s great for our team to be going to the College World Series. We have a very supportive athletic department here and (the fact that) we also stepped up to host the Super Regional made it a great day for our university.”
Yerdon-Grange is connected to Binghamton in more ways than one. From 2006-09, she was the assistant coach at Rochester under current Binghamton head coach Michelle Burrell. With Burrell and Yerdon working together, the Yellow Jackets won three straight Liberty Conference titles and advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament from 2007-09.
When Burrell accepted the job at Binghamton in July 2009, Yerdon-Grange was elevated to the head position. Since then, she has gone 132-80 and has also led the Yellow Jackets to the NCAA Tournament in 2012.
“I learned a tremendous amount from Michelle,” Yerdon-Grange said. “I was a volunteer assistant (at Rochester) in 2005 before she came here. I saw how she was able to come in and build the softball program to the point that we were winning championships.”
Burrell, meanwhile, made the trip to Rochester on Saturday to watch the clinching game. Afterwards, she couldn’t have been prouder of her former assistant.
“I am so happy for Margaret, her staff and her players,” she said. “She is not only a great coach but a great person as well and Rochester is very lucky to have her leading their program. We wish them the best of luck as they compete in the College World Series this week.”
Yerdon-Grange competed at Binghamton from 1998-02 under former head coach Holly Brown. During that time, the program transitioned from the NCAA Division III level in 1998 to the Division I level her final year. In between, the team was a Division II member from 1999-01.
Binghamton advanced to the NCAA Division III Regional in 1998. It won the ECAC Division II title in 2000. In 2002, the Bearcats won 23 games in their first season as a Division I program. Yerdon-Grange, meanwhile, was a NFCA Regional All-American in 1999, the New England College Conference (NECC) Pitcher of the Year in 2000 and was a first-team America East all-conference selection in 2002.
“Being a part of the Binghamton softball program had a big impact in my (future) coaching career,” she said. “We had a competitive edge and work ethic that played a big part in our success.”
Twelve years after she graduated from Binghamton, Yerdon continues to follow the Bearcats’ softball program. From the start, she was confident that Burrell would build that program just like she did at Rochester. Since 2011, the Bearcats have advanced to the America East Tournament three times. Prior to Burrell’s arrival, they had yet to reach post season play during their Division I era.
“When Michelle got the job at Binghamton, I expected the program to improve,” she said. “She is a great coach and has done a great job of bringing in players. They are only going to continue to get better.”