AMHERST, Mass. -- Director of Athletics Suzanne Coffey has announced the hiring of Shannon Doepking as head coach of the Amherst softball program. A four-year standout catcher at Division I powerhouse Tennessee, Doepking previously served as an assistant coach at Stony Brook and Fairleigh Dickinson after enjoying a five-year professional career in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league.

“I am pleased to welcome Shannon Doepking to Amherst,” Coffey said. “She made a mark in both of the programs where she served as an assistant coach and coupled with the combination of her impressive collegiate and professional softball careers, she has built a solid foundation to lead a talented Amherst squad.”

An assistant coach during the 2013 season, Doepking helped guide Stony Brook to a 35-25 overall mark, one win shy of tying a program record. The No. 4 seed in the America East tournament, the Seawolves dropped their playoff opener before reeling off four consecutive elimination game wins to become just the third No. 4 seed in league history to claim the conference title.

Defeating top-seeded Albany twice en route to the America East crown and a second NCAA regional berth, it was just the second time in league history that a team lost its opening game before rallying to win the championship. Six players earned all-conference recognition for their efforts, including catcher Alexandra Pisciotta, who garnered praise on both the conference first team and all-rookie squads.

A hitting and pitching coach at FDU before her stint at Stony Brook, the Knights saw a 10-game improvement from 2010 to 2011 as the program posted its first winning season (26-22). The squad continued to make strides the following year with a 30-20 overall record.

Prior to her arrival, FDU finished 2010 ranked sixth in the Northeast Conference in batting average (.261) and last in team earned-run average (5.68). In 2011 the Knights lowered their ERA by more than two runs (3.44), while raising their production at the plate (.273). The following year saw another jump in the team’s statistics as FDU led the league in batting average (.309), while sitting third in team ERA (2.73).

"First off, I want to thank Suzanne Coffey, Don Faulstick and the rest of the search committee for giving me this opportunity,” Doepking said. “I'm very excited to join the Amherst College family and become part of such a great history and tradition. What most impressed me about Amherst was its commitment to academics and athletics as well as the competitive drive exhibited throughout the entire department."

Getting her coaching start as an assistant at Brentwood Academy High School in 2010, Doepking was an accomplished player in her own right, enjoying a decorated four-year career at Southeastern Conference (SEC) power Tennessee. Helping the Lady Vols to an impressive 246-46 (.842) record from 2005-08, she played in three consecutive Women’s College World Series from 2005-07. Named to the freshman All-SEC team in 2005, she was a first team all-league selection as a junior, while also earning All-South Region accolades.

Graduating with a degree in sociology, she continued her playing career after graduation as the 15th overall pick in the 2008 NPF draft by the Akron Racers. Enjoying stints with the USSSA Pride and the Tennessee Diamonds, she signed with the Chicago Bandits prior to the 2011 season. Catching Monica Abbott’s perfect game on Aug. 4, 2011, she helped Chicago capture its second NPF championship later that year. Earning a master’s of sports administration from FDU, she announced her retirement from the professional softball after five seasons on Feb. 4, 2013.