Stanford Athletics announced Wednesday that Rachel Hanson, previously the head coach at Dartmouth College, has been named the new head softball coach for the Cardinal. Dartmouth athletic director Harry Sheehy also confirmed the move last week in an email to Valley News in Vermont.
Hanson becomes the third softball coach in Stanford program history, replacing longtime head coach John Rittman, whose resignation was announced on June 2 after 18 years at the helm of the team. Hanson will look to replicate the success of Rittman, who helped the Cardinal to the postseason in 16 out of his 18 years, while also leading the Card to two Women’s College World Series berths and seven NCAA regional titles.
Hanson comes to the Farm after helping the Big Green to one of their best seasons in Dartmouth softball history. The Big Green went 18-2 in Ivy League regular season play in 2014 under Hanson’s leadership, as they won their first Ivy League title in program history, defeating Pennsylvania in the Ivy League Championship Series. In addition, in her last two years leading Dartmouth softball, Hanson helped the Big Green to their best conference finishes in school history.
Hanson was able to gradually build her program at Dartmouth after earning the job in 2010. Inheriting a squad that went 14-27 in the year prior to her arrival, Hanson was able to turn a historically weaker program, with an all-time program record of 342-474-2, into an Ivy League contender. Before making the NCAA tournament in 2014, Dartmouth narrowly missed out on the NCAA tournament in 2013, losing to Pennsylvania in the Ivy League Championship series. Hanson will leave Dartmouth as the only coach in Big Green program history with a winning record.
In a statement to GoStanford.com, Hanson expressed her excitement in taking over the Cardinal program. “Stanford Athletics has such a rich history of success and I’m excited to build upon that with our current and future student-athletes,” she said. “What stands out clearly to me is the devotion Stanford has to developing true student-athletes – leaders of championship caliber on the field, in the classroom and in the community.”
Stanford’s hire of Hanson was endorsed by arguably the greatest player in Cardinal program history, softball legend and now ESPN broadcaster Jessica Mendoza ‘02.
Mendoza, a four time All-American for the Card, told GoStanford.com, “Rachel is a great fit because she knows how to work with the student-athlete and relate to the uniqueness of the Stanford student-athlete. She’s able to bring out the best of the players and represent the university in the best way possible. The great thing about Stanford is that it’s ‘student’ before ‘athlete’ and Rachel gets that.”
Stanford softball will begin its 2015 campaign in February.
Contact David Cohn at dmcohn ‘at’ stanford.edu.