Veteran Laker Coach Jessica VanLoy has returned to Iowa Lakes to lead the award-winning softball team.
VanLoy served as the Iowa Lakes Assistant Softball Coach in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. She replaces Shawn Semler, who announced his departure last week.
She comes from Dakota State University where she worked as an assistant coach for the Trojans.
“This is an opportunity I’m very grateful for to be able to be a head coach so early in my career,” said Coach VanLoy. “I’m looking forward to the challenges to come and excited about the possibilities that this team possesses.”
Coach VanLoy is no stranger to Iowa Lakes.
“This will be my third year at Iowa Lakes. I worked under Coach Bosch my first year – and he continues to be the winning-est coach at Iowa Lakes. I also worked under Coach Bouman who has coached at the Division I level for several years. Those experiences have offered me the chance to learn all I could from them which I will combine with my own philosophies to make another run at a national championship,” she added.
Coach VanLoy has already spent time with team members.
“I’ve known several of these young women, having coached some – and recruited others,” she said.
She expects the Laker women to succeed.
“This team has the potential to continue the winning tradition that the Laker Softball program is known for,” Coach VanLoy said. “I will be working hard with these players to help them excel academically while also building a strong moral character which each individual can carry with them their entire life.”
She also knows the game well. While with the Dakota State University Trojans from 2005-2008, she was a two-sport athlete. During that time she was named as an All-Conference athlete six times, an All-American twice, and was recognized as a two-time female athlete of the year in 2007 and 2008.
Athletic Director Troy Larson feels Coach VanLoy will bring a new dimension to Iowa Lakes softball.
“Having known her for the last couple of years, I am confident that Coach VanLoy is the right person to lead the program,” Larson said. “She cares about the athletes, will have great relationships with them, and has an impressive softball mind. The players are looking forward to competing for her – and for Iowa Lakes – as we approach the spring season.”
Larson wasn’t expecting a mid-year change in leadership for the softball squad.
“It’s been a very interesting couple of days in the Iowa Lakes softball program. I want to wish Coach Semler well and thank him for his efforts within the program,” Larson said.
Semler said that he “appreciated the opportunity to coach at a college with such a rich history in softball and for an athletic department that has so many great people working in it.”
He’ll also be keeping the Lakers on his mind.
“I wish Iowa Lakes and the softball program nothing but the best and will follow them throughout the spring,” Semler said.
The Lakers averaged more than 50 wins most seasons over the past decade. Since 2006, Iowa Lakes Softball has had had 19 All-Americans and has advanced twice to the national tournament, finishing as high as 3rd in 2009.