Fresno State Bulldogs · Sports

Fresno State taps Stacy May-Johnson to take charge of softball program

Fresno State announced Friday that Utah Valley University head coach Stacy May-Johnson will be the next head coach of the Bulldogs. 

May-Johnson is set to be the fifth head coach in the program’s 43-year history. 

“After an extensive national search, it became clear that Stacy May-Johnson was the right person to lead our softball program into the future,” Athletic Director Terry Tumey said in a statement. 

“Throughout her career, both as an athlete and a coach, she has been a proven winner and a dynamic leader of young women who will make a tremendous impact on our program academically, athletically, and in our Valley community. Her commitment to the holistic student-athlete experience is commendable, and we are excited for our softball student-athletes, and the Red Wave, as we begin the Coach May-Johnson era.” 

May-Johnson led Utah Valley to a .507 winning percentage in her two seasons at the helm, which was an improvement on the .322 winning percentage in the five seasons before she took charge. 

Before her stop at Utah Valley, May-Johnson served as the associate head coach at Eastern Kentucky from 2018-2019 and various coaching roles with Purdue, Louisville and Iowa. 

“I want to thank President [Saul] Jimenez-Sandoval, Terry Tumey, [Senior Associate AD] David Hall and the rest of the Fresno State community for this opportunity,” May-Johnson said in a statement. 

“I’m excited to lead the proud Bulldog program and build upon the incredible history that so many former legends have established. I look forward to getting out on the field with our current student-athletes and working toward our next championship. 

Before she ventured into coaching, May-Johnson was an infielder for Iowa, where she was named to the All-Big Ten team three times. She also played professionally for the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch league. 

Her playing pedigree earned her a spot on Team USA, where she won a gold medal at the Pan American Games in 2011, which led to her being named the 2011 Softball Female Athlete of the Year for her efforts. 

May-Johnson graduated from Iowa in 2007 as a double major in physics and accounting. In 2009, May earned her master’s degree in physics from Louisville. 

Friday’s appointment comes just days after allegations came to light regarding former head coach Linda Garza physically assaulting a player on the field as well as her use of the “N-word” in front of players. 

Garza, who was in her fifth year with the Bulldogs, was placed on a leave of absence by the athletic department in April for unannounced reasons, and she stepped down as head coach two years ago. 

On Wednesday, former Fresno State outfield Kaitlyn Jennings published a note on Twitter detailing an April incident in which she claims Garza physically assaulted her

One day later, pitcher Danielle Lung came to Jennings’ defense on Twitter and claimed that Garza used the racial when talking to players and body-shamed her and her teammates

Fresno State Athletics declined to comment on the allegations.

Photo: Fresno State Athletics

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.