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Yoder steps down after 10 years at Aggie softball helm

By From page B1 | June 18, 2014

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Karen Yoder, shown here during a UC Davis game this spring, stepped down recently after 10 seasons as the Aggie softball coach. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

Karen Yoder, head coach of the UC Davis softball team for the past 10 seasons, has announced her resignation to “pursue other professional opportunities,” an athletic department spokesman said Tuesday.

Yoder leaves with a 217-326 (.399) record at the Aggie helm, a win total that is the second-best in UCD history.

Named to the post in 2005, Yoder also guided the program through its final three years of transition to Division I.

In 2010, her Aggie squad captured the Big West Conference title to earn an NCAA Regional berth at Stanford.

The announcement of Yoder’s departure comes just a month after campus officials unveiled a $4 million renovation plan for La Rue Field.

UCD (21-33) had to fight through the loss to injury of pitching ace Justin Vela this spring. The right-hander from Bakersfield was lost for the season after facing one batter in the first game of the year.

“Karen guided the softball program through a challenging time for our athletics program as it finished its transition to D-I,” said Aggie Athletic Director Terry Tumey. “We thank her for her leadership during that move and the following years, and congratulate her on her successes.”

In that 2010 championship year, Yoder earned Big West Coach of the Year accolades.

“I have so many wonderful memories over the last 10 years at UC Davis that I see this as a wonderfully filled chapter of my career,” Yoder said in a prepared statement.

“I would like to express sincere appreciation to everyone that has shared in the hard work, vision and dedication of UC Davis into the Division I era. We proved in three quick years that UCD softball was a force to be reckoned with and captured the Big West Championship.”

Yoder will continue to lecture on campus while pursuing “other professional opportunities … including those in athletics administration,” a school official said.

Before coming to Davis, Yoder was an outstanding catcher at New Mexico (1991-94). College was followed by two years playing professionally (Georgi Pride and Durham Dragons of the WPFL) before earning two degrees at then-Cal State Hayward.

Yoder coached at what is now Cal State East Bay, Napa Valley College and UNC-Greensboro. She has 338 career NCAA victories.

In addition, she is a former National Fastpitch Coaches Association president and part of the NFCA’s Ethics Committee. She also represented UCD coaches on the Title IX Ethics Committee.

Under Yoder’s guidance, 36 Aggies received all-conference honors (16 first-teamers) with two hurlers — Alex Holmes (2010) and Jessica Hancock (2008) — named Big West Pitcher of the Year.

Yoder and husband Shawn have three children — Natalee, Jenna and Michael.

Tumey says a national search for a new head coach “will begin soon.”

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.

Bruce Gallaudet

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