Pacific Lutheran University and Concordia University will enter the 2017 season with new head coaches as Brandi Gordon will handle the reigns for the Lutes and Shelley Whittaker will coach Concordia.
Both teams open the season Feb. 2, PLU in Los Angeles and Concordia at the Desert Stinger Classic in Las Vegas.
PSU Athletic Director Laurie Turner said Gordon’s coaching background allows her the ability to hit the ground running.
"Her coaching experience at Harvard University and Seattle University and her network in the Northwest will allow her to hit the ground running,” said Turner. “I look forward to Brandi's leadership in creating a stable environment that the athletes in the program can embrace and continue to grow as student athletes."
Gordon is the Lutes third coach in four seasons.
Replacing Lance Glascoe, who returned the University of Washington, Gordon becomes the eighth coach in the program's storied 35-year history that has seen the Lutes win three national championships (NAIA titles in 1988 and 1992, NCAA D3 in 2012) and capture 17 Northwest Conference Championships..
Gordon joins the Lutes from Seattle University where she served as assistant coach for four seasons, helping the RedHawks advance to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals in 2016. She additionally served as an assistant for Seattle from 2007-2008, helping the team win a share of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championship in 2008. Between stints at Seattle, Gordon served as an assistant at Harvard University from 2008-2013. While at Harvard, she helped the Crimson win the Ivy League Championship in both 2011 and 2012 while advancing to the NCAA DI Regional finals in 2012.
Gordon was the director of softball operations at the University of Washington, when the Huskies place third at the NCAA Women's College World Series in 2007.
“I come into a softball program of many successes and I look forward to continuing that tradition with this year's group of current student-athletes and colleagues," said Gordon.
A graduate from University of the Pacific (Stockton, Calif.) with a sports sciences degree and a teaching credential in physical education, Gordon was a four-year letterwinner at UOP. As a senior, she was a second team All-Big West Conference selection and was a third team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American.
Among the more notable Lute coaches is Tennessee Hall of Fame coach Ralph Weekly, who has 1,255 career wins in 29 years. Weekly was the Lutes head coach from 1986-94, where he compiled a 310-93 (.769) record and became one of the most successful coaches in NAIA history. In his nine years at PLU, his teams made eight trips to the NAIA Tournament, returning with national championships in 1988 and 1992, and a second-place finish in 1990. His 1991 team was ranked first in the country throughout most of the season.
Weekly was named the National Softball Coaches Association (NSCA) Small College Coach of the Year in 1993 and was a two-time NAIA National Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1992. He was chosen as the NAIA West Region Coach of the Year eight times in a nine-year span, covering the 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993 and 1994 campaigns.
In Glasoe’s two seasons at PLU, the Lutes were 45-33. He was an assistant coach at Washington prior to taking over as head coach of the Lutes in 2015.
Whitaker brings more than 15 years of head coaching experience and 10 years of experience as an athletic administrator to Concordia.
Whitaker switched to the administrative side two years ago as associate athletic director at D3 Yeshiva University in New York.
Previously, Whitaker served in both an administrative and head coaching capacity at D3 schools Whittier College in Whittier, Calif., and MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois. At Whittier, Whitaker helped guide the Poets to a 20-win season in each year of her tenure (2009-14) and closed out her career with the highest winning percentage of any coach in the program. In addition, she took on the role of assistant athletic director, senior woman administrator and compliance coordinator.
Prior to Whittier, Whitaker was head softball coach for five seasons and athletic director for two years at MacMurray. During her time with Highlanders (2005-2009), Whitaker wore many hats and was also the head women's golf and volleyball coach and also worked as the compliance officer, senior woman administrator, sports information director and the assistant athletic director for student development and recruiting.
Whittaker also brings experience from high school and club levels, most recently coaching with Nova Fusion Softball in Mountain View, Calif., and serving as the co-athletic director at Saint Joseph High School in Lakewood, Calif.
A graduate of University of Rio Grande (Ohio) in 1996, Whitaker earned a Masters of Education from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, where she first began as an assistant softball coach in 1997 before moving on to become the head softball coach at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia.
In other coaching changes, Mt. Hood Community College hired Brittany Hendrickson to replace Meadow McWhorter who took over the heading coaching duties at Portland State. And Kelley Kaneshiro was named head coach at Shoreline Community College.
Kaneshiro spent last season as an assistant with the program and helped the Dolphins reach the NWAC Tournament.
Prior to joining SCC, Kaneshiro was an assistant coach with Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne.
Kaneshiro had a decorated career at Utah State where she still holds the career records for home runs and slugging percentage. Her single-season home run marks rank first (2010), third (2011), third (2008), and ninth (2012) all-time in program history.
Kaneshiro replaced Ben Reindel, who joined Seattle University, as an assistant coach.
Hendrickson, who was Portland State’s Offensive MVP three times, racked up numerous Big Sky and collegiate awards during her playing career.
In 2016, Hendrickson coached at Concordia-Irvine University.