The softball field will be named in honor of longtime head coach Elaine Sortino this weekend to recognize her distinguished career and dedication to both the program and the sport of softball, according to athletic director John McCutcheon. The formal ceremony to name the playing surface Sortino Field will take place on Saturday, Oct. 6 prior to the annual alumni game at 11 a.m.
More than 70 former letter-winners, managers and coaches are expected to be in attendance, including members of the 1992 Women’s College World Series squad for the 20th anniversary of that season.
“It’s an honor and privilege for us to be able to recognize everything Elaine has meant, not only to the softball program but the University and Amherst community,” McCutcheon said. “This is a fitting way to recognize her many accomplishments and to provide our fans and supporters the opportunity to help us continue this tradition and fully complete Elaine's vision for the facility.”
Sortino, one of the top softball coaches in NCAA history, has been the driving force behind the more than $350,000 raised for the current facility. Future plans are to raise an additional $500,000 to continue enhancements to the complex and fulfill her dream to which she has dedicated her career.
Sortino is entering her 34th season at UMass, where she has compiled a 1,167-483-6 (.705) record, leading the Minutewomen to 21 NCAA tournament appearances and three trips to the WCWS. Sortino is the fourth-winningest active NCAA Division I coach and has never had a losing season at UMass, while winning 23 Atlantic 10 regular-season titles and 23 tournament championships.
A native of Yonkers, N.Y., Sortino posted a 218-134-1 record as volleyball coach from 1979-86. A 1971 graduate of Oneonta State University, she earned her master’s degree from the University of Bridgeport in 1973. Sortino was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame in 2004.
Sortino also serves as associate athletics director and senior woman administrator. She directly supervises six men’s and women's sport programs. She oversees student-athlete services, sports medicine, strength and conditioning, athletic health enhancement and the life skills program.
The softball program moved from Totman Field to the southwest corner of campus prior to the 2000 slate and has posted a 211-24-1 (.896) mark at home since that season.
The complex was renovated to its current size with a seating capacity of 1,000 before the 2008 campaign. A new outfield wall was installed in 2011 and three outdoor batting cages were completed in April 2012. It also features six pitching mounds across two bullpens and heated dugouts with restrooms.