Sheryl Gilmore becomes WWU’s fifth head softball coach after successful stop at Edmonds Community College. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
Sheryl Gilmore Selected as New WWU Softball Head Coach
August 7, 2018
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Western Washington University Director of Athletics Steve Card has announced that Sheryl Gilmore has been named the head coach of the Vikings softball program.
Gilmore returns to her alma mater after a successful four-year tenure as the head softball coach at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, Washington. Gilmore is a graduate of WWU, holding an bachelor of science degree in kinesiology and master of science in human movement and performance.
Gilmore will be WWU’s fifth head coach during the 26-year history of the program, and follows Amy Suiter who stepped down from the position after a successful eight-year run to spend more time with her family.
“We are thrilled to have Sheryl join our family and return to Western Washington University as our next softball head coach,” saidCard. “It became evident during the interview process that she is passionate about coaching softball, but even more dedicated to ensuring a positive student-athlete experience in the classroom, community and on the field for our softball program. We are looking forward to her getting started and start preparing for the 2019 season.”
During her four seasons at Edmonds, Gilmore led the Tritons to a 106-60 (.639) record, including a 66-42 (.611) mark against Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) North Division opponents. She guided Edmonds to the NWAC playoffs in three of her four seasons at the helm of the program (2016-18), including the North Region title in 2018 and a 3rd-place finish at the NWAC Tournament.
“This is a dream for me. I am so humbled, appreciative and excited for this opportunity and very grateful for what Amy Suiter built here at Western,” said Gilmore. “It is clear I am stepping into a program made up of high-caliber and high-character student-athletes and I can already see the positive leadership within the team.
“I am eager to get to know these ladies as people and as players and I’m fired up to lead them, learn from them and work hard with them on and off the field. This group seems hungry for success and committed to finding ways to develop and get better as a team, which makes me even more excited about the opportunity to be their coach.”
In 2018, Edmonds set a program record for wins going 42-8 and won the North Region championship going 29-3 in league play. Gilmore was named the NWAC North Region Coach of the Year, and seven players earned NWAC All-North Region honors.
In her four years as Edmonds’ head coach, 19 players earned All-NWAC North Region honors, 10 players were named NWAC All-Academic and three players (four selections) earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) First-Team All-America honors.
Gilmore inherited a program in 2015 that had won only 12 games in the previous eight seasons, and took only one season to under her belt to help guide the Tritons to the first of three consecutive trips to the NWAC Tournament. Under her tutelage, Gilmore’s teams improved its winning percentage each season, going from .281 (9-23) in her first season in 2015 to .804 (42-8) in 2018.
In addition to coaching duties at Edmonds CC, Gilmore worked as a full-time physical education and health instructor, and continued to work on research and product development in the kinesiology field. She also spent the last year as the NWAC Women’s Commissioner where she served as a representative to the NWAC Athletic Commission, its boards, committees and regional commission. Her duties included enforcing the athletic code, policies, and procedures of the association within the athletic department. Gilmore is a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, American College of Sports Medicine, National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a trained high performance coach.
“I learned so much in my time at Edmonds and I can't thank them enough for the opportunity they gave me to lead the Triton Softball program for the past four years,” said Gilmore. “I am very proud of the culture and legacy that has been built there by the players and I feel so fortunate to continue to be a part of each of their lives.
“To be that successful, that quickly was a testament to the student-athletes and their hard work, selflessness, and commitment to the process.”
Gilmore has extensive experience playing and coaching softball in the Snohomish County area. She had a stellar four-year career at Edmonds-Woodway High School, where she received First-team All-Wesco honors as a shortstop, as well as MVP and most inspirational awards during her senior season. She played select softball for the Edmonds Starz from 12U through 18 Gold where she served as a team captain for five consecutive years. After high school, Gilmore continued her softball career at Edmonds CC where she was a member of the last Triton team that reached the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) championships before leading her team back as head coach in 2016.
After injuries put her softball career on hold, she transferred to WWU and went on to earn both her bachelor's and master’s degree in kinesiology, with a minor in sports psychology. Gilmore was awarded magna cum laude graduation honors and is published for her softball-related thesis research. While at Western she taught exercise physiology labs, coached both high school and select travel ball teams, worked as a private hitting instructor and assisted as a strength and conditioning coach at WWU. After graduation, Gilmore taught upper division kinesiology classes at WWU and co-founded the Washington Warriors Fastpitch Club, a select travel team based out of Edmonds.
“Western has always felt like home to me and I can’t believe I get to go on this journey with this group of student-athletes here at the school that made me who I am,” said Gilmore. “This is a first-class university, in one of the best college towns in the country, with an athletic department that is deeply invested in the student-athlete experience. How do you not get excited to be here? I am thrilled to be back and I can't wait to get to work.”
Gilmore will begin her head coaching duties at WWU on September 1. The process to identify an assistant coach for the program will begin immediately once Gilmore starts at Western.
The Vikings are scheduled to open the 2019 season Feb. 1-3 with five games in the 10th Annual Desert Stinger tournament at Majestic Park in Las Vegas, Nevada. WWU’s home debut will be a four-game GNAC series hosting Montana State Billings March 2-3 at Viking Field, with doubleheaders each day starting at noon. The tentative 2019 schedule can be viewed online atWWUVikings.com/Softball.