Oneonta State fills vacancy with hire of former Mercyhurst head coach Headley
Oneonta State director of athletics, Tracey Ranieri, has announced Sara Headley will take over as the head softball coach effective Aug. 15. Headley replaces Liz Wagner, who left to pursue other professional opportunities.
"Coach Headley brings a wealth of experience and positive energy that will serve our student athletes well," Ranieri said. "Her support for young women goes well beyond softball and that blends well with our department's athletic leadership development model. We are thrilled that she will join our coaching staff."
Headley arrives in Oneonta after spending the past 10 years as the head coach at Division II Mercyhurst in Erie, Penn. During her tenure, she recorded eight 20-win seasons while becoming the winningest coach in the program's history.
In 2012, the Lakers won 26 games, the highest single-season total in program history. They also won two games in the PSAC Tournament, the first time Mercyhurst had won a PSAC Tournament contest. Headley guided the team to consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1990-91.
Mercyhurst finished 24-20 overall during 2011, posting a 9-7 record while earning second place in the PSAC West and its second berth in the PSAC Tournament. This was the first time since 1991 the Lakers finished with a winning record. The Lakers recorded 20 or more wins for the fifth season in a row and sixth time in eight years and were regionally ranked for two consecutive weeks at 10th and 9th respectively.
Headley coached 31 all-conference, eight NFCA All-Region, six Daktronics All-Region and two Daktronics All-Americans. She also had a pair of academic all-americans with her team consistently holding a team GPA of 3.3 or better. Her 2010 squad finished second on the NFCA Top Ten Academic list with a 3.619 GPA.
"I am thankful to SUNY Oneonta, Tracey Ranieri, and the athletics department for granting me this great opportunity," Headley said. "I am very excited to be a part of the SUNY Oneonta program. I am looking forward to meeting the team and ushering in a new era of Red Dragon softball."
Prior to Mercyhurst, Headley served as the first assistant at Division I Florida International. The Florida International team made its first-ever NCAA Regional appearance in 2003. Headley spent two years as a graduate assistant at Augusta State in Augusta, Georgia. She earned her Master of Business Administration degree there in May 2001.
Headley played her college ball as a catcher at Robert Morris where she earned a number of awards for her performance on and off the field. She was named All-Northeast Region in 1997, selected to the All-Northeast Conference squads in 1997 and 1998, and was chosen NEC Academic Player of the Year in 1998. She was named ECAC Female Athlete of the Year and Woman of the Year for Robert Morris in 1999. She graduated cum laude from Robert Morris in 1999 with a degree in Business Administration/Sport Management.
Headley also served as the assistant director of athletics at Mercyhurst from 2007-13. She served as an advisor to the Student-Athlete Advisory Board; was the coordinator of the CHAMPS/Life Skills program; and an advisor to the Mercyhurst Mentors. Under her direction the SAAB has held four Athletic Variety Shows known as the Laker Showdown raising a total of $5,350 for Special Olympics. In addition, the CHAMPS/Life Skills program, with the assistance of the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, introduced the Sister Damien Cup competition where the teams compete in each of the five CHAMPS categories (Athletic Excellence, Academic Excellence, Commitment to Service, School Spirit, and Personal/Career Development). The SAAB has also raised over $5,000 for Make-A-Wish.