Milligan named head Softball coach

By Matt Faulkner Army Athletic Communications

  Army West Point Director of Athletics Mike Buddie has announced the hiring of Cheryl Milligan as the new head softball coach June 19. Milligan brings a wealth of experience in collegiate softball as she was the head coach at Division III Tufts University for 15 years before joining Army’s coaching staff last season as an assistant coach. Under Milligan, Tufts became the first team in NCAA Division III history to win three consecutive national championships from 2013-2015. Photo by Army Athletic Communications

Army West Point Director of Athletics Mike Buddie has announced the hiring of Cheryl Milligan as the new head softball coach June 19.
Milligan brings a wealth of experience in collegiate softball as she was the head coach at Division III Tufts University for 15 years before joining Army’s coaching staff last season as an assistant coach.
“I am thrilled that Cheryl will be leading our softball program,” Buddie said. “Her record of success running a national caliber program and her obvious commitment to developing leaders of character made her a perfect fit for our department.”
Under Milligan, Tufts became the first team in NCAA Division III history to win three consecutive national championships from 2013-2015.
“I’m very honored to be the next softball coach at Army West Point,” Milligan said. “On behalf of our family, I want to thank Mike Buddie, Dan McCarthy, Wen Chang and the entire search committee for their dedication to this program. The future of Black Knight Softball is very bright, and I look forward to getting started with our amazing cadet-athletes.”
The Jumbos played in five of the last eight NCAA Finals in the final eight years of Milligan’s time at the helm. Prior to the three straight national titles, Milligan coached the Jumbos into the NCAA Finals in 2009 and 2012 as well.
Tufts won four straight NCAA Regional/Super Regional championships (2012-15) and six overall during Milligan’s tenure. They earned four New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crowns in a span of Milligan’s final five years and 10 in total. Milligan was named NESCAC Coach of the Year four straight times and is an eight-time recipient overall. Her teams have a combined record of 437-124 for an outstanding .779 winning percentage.
In the spring of 2015, Tufts finished 51-0 while capturing the national title. 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 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 the prefect season in 2015.
Tufts’ 51-0 record that year is the best in NCAA history, while 2009, 2013 and 2014 all rank among the all-time top 20 for winning percentage.
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 won that award for both the 2014 and 2015 seasons as well.
The Jumbos nearly advanced to the NCAA Finals again in 2016. They hosted an NCAA Regional at Spicer Field and advanced to the final round before being eliminated by WPI. Tufts finished with a 30-12 record in 2016.
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 four-time NFCA First Team All-American. Eleven Jumbos earned All-American honors during Milligan’s tenure. She also coached 10 NESCAC Players of the Year. The 2005 Tufts team led the nation in home runs per game with a 1.20 per-game average. Milligan’s 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 before joining the staff as an assistant coach for six years at her alma mater. She was promoted to head coach of the Jumbos in July 2003.
She played every inning during her Tufts softball career. Her .377 career batting average is 10th all-time, and she is ninth on the program’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.
Milligan is married to Army’s Associate Head Baseball Coach Jamie Pinzino who serves as the team’s pitching coach. They have a five-year old son, Henry.