YORK, PA – York College Assistant Dean for Athletics and Recreation Paul Saikia is proud to announce that Jen Petteys has been named as the Spartans' new head softball coach. Petteys replaces former head coach Nicki Starry who left the program in late November. She is the fourth full-time head coach in program history and the seventh coach since the inception of the program.
"We are very excited to have Jen joining our staff," states Saikia. "Initially, we were concerned about the response we might get to a coaching search at such an awkward time of the year. We were fortunate to draw a strong pool of candidates, but Jen stood out--she fills our needs exceptionally and brings an enthusiastic, hard-working, and stable presence to the program. I think we all have a lot to look forward to."
Petteys brings a wealth of coaching and playing experience to the 2013 York College softball squad. Petteys was an accomplished player at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. and has successful coaching experience at a variety of levels. She began her coaching journey after graduating from St. John Fisher College in 1999.
A centerfielder in college, Petteys has an in-depth understanding of all aspects of collegiate softball. She earned NFCA All-Region 1st Team and NYSWCAA All-State 1st Team accolades in 1999 as her Cardinal team won the NYS Championship, and after narrowly missing an NCAA Championship bid, her team battled back in the loser's bracket to win the ECAC North Championship. Also during 1999, Petteys powered the Cardinals to one of the most remarkable runs not only in Fisher softball history, but in Division III softball where her team won 31 of their final 35 games and finished the season with a 39-11 overall record. The Cardinals won 106 games during Petteys' four-year career including the school-record 39 victories in 1999.
Petteys is excited to take over the program.
"I am excited to be a part of the Spartan family. I want to thank Dr. Waldner, Dean Merkle, Paul Saikia, and all of the members of the search committee for this great opportunity. I can't wait to meet the players and begin working for this season that is fast approaching and planning for much success beyond in future seasons. York College is a fantastic place to build a program and being head coach at the collegiate level has been a personal long-term goal.The College is a dynamic and impressive environment and I believe the type of student-athletes we will be able to attract will enable us to become a destination place for collegiate softball."
Petteys was the girls' varsity softball coach for eight years at Canajoharie High School in Canajoharie, N.Y. where she compiled a record of 90-47-1 with sectional tournament berths in each of those eight campaigns.
Petteys then spent two seasons at SUNY Cobleskill as assistant softball coach for the Fighting Tigers. This past summer, Petteys was hired as assistant softball coach at Herkimer County Community College. The Generals were 38-6 overall, 33-1 in the region, 12-0 in the Mountain Valley Conference and finished fifth at the NJCAA Division III Softball National Championship Tournament in the 2012 season.
She recently served as President and Head Coach of the Tri-Valley Aces Travel softball organization. Petteys was the head coach of the team that went 49-13 during the summer of 2012. That record included a top five finish at the 16U Eastern National Tournament in Sterling, VA. The elite summer travel team was comprised of recruited players from a five county area in upstate New York.
Petteys' coaching experience gives her the readiness to take over the York College softball program with only four short weeks until the start of the season.
"I believe we learn things from every experience we have and my experiences have prepared me for this job," says Petteys. "We don't have much time to get ready for the season, but I have a plan to get us to where we need to be to start the year."
Petteys still holds single-season records for hits (72 in 1999) and stolen bases (21 in 1996), and is second in runs scored (52 in 1999) and sacrifices (21 in 1999). She currently holds career offensive records for hits (223), on base (312) and on base percentage (.502). She is in the NCAA Division III record book for at bats in a season (174). She also got the job done in the classroom as she graduated Cum Laude from Fisher with a Bachelors' degree in Sociology/concentration in Criminal Justice. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Sports Coaching with an emphasis in NCAA compliance through the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, AL.
Petteys was inducted into the St. John Fisher Athletic Hall of Fame on September 28, 2006.
Petteys' athletic success allows her to reach student-athletes, both during the recruiting process and when they arrive at York.
"I was fortunate to have a successful playing career and I carry those experiences into my coaching. I understand what it's like to face situations as an athlete and can help our players become better -- both on and off the field. I seek players who are, first and foremost, great people," says the new Spartan leader. "Being great students and great players are important, but I believe that student-athletes with great character will provide us with our best chance to become champions. I want our student-athletes to have a mindset of hard work, commitment and dedication. I want them to have the willingness to sacrifice for their teammates, and to leave it all on the field. I am very structured and organized and I am clear about my expectations. I care about my student-athletes and I believe in my ability to develop them not only as softball players, but as people, as students, and as human beings who will finish the program prepared for life and its' challenges. "
Professionally, prior to coming to York, Petteys had served 12 years as the Executive Director of the Montgomery County Department of Youth, ATI, & Veteran Services. She also served as the Coordinator of the Montgomery County STOP-DWI program, was a member of the Executive Board for the Association of New York State Youth Bureaus and served on various task forces, coalitions and community action committees throughout Montgomery County.
Petteys knows what fans should expect from her teams on the field and in the classroom.
"We are going to be prepared and play hard from the first pitch to the last out," states the Spartan head coach. "We are going to be a team that is able to make adjustments and a team that will improve each day, whether it is in a game or during practice. I expect my players to control the controllable: Attitude and Effort. I want us to play hard and to play smart. We will respect the game, the opponent, and the process of improving as individuals and as a team."
Petteys is ACE Softball Certified under the Amateur Softball Association and NYS Education Department permanent professional coaching certified in the sport of softball.
Petteys begins her duties at York on January 14. Her Spartan squad opens their campaign on February 16 at the Emory University Invitational in Atlanta, GA. The Spartans will face Emory and Ferrum in the three-team invitational and then will continue play with a trip to Myrtle Beach, SC from March 2 – March 9 prior to getting settled into conference play.