Wilkes University has recently announced the hiring of the new softball coach Jackie Klahold. Kladhold joins the team as the program’s 10th head coach.
“It’s awesome,” said Klahold. “It’s kind’ve come full circle to a degree, as I worked here from 2006-2010. It was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down just because this place has always felt like home to me.”
Klahold previously spent the last five seasons as the head coach at Penn College, bringing a wealth of experience with her to Wilkes. Klahold fills a vacancy that was created when previous head coach Sarah Leavanworth left Wilkes to take a head coaching position at Muhlenberg College over the summer.
Klahold joins an already successful program, as the team is coming off a 26-16 season, one of the program’s best in the past decade. In addition, Wilkes has had three consecutive seasons of 20-plus wins, as well as two Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Freedom tournament appearances in the last three years.
Getting back to the MAC Freedom tournament and building off of past years’ success is a big part of Klahold’s goals for the program.
“These girls are proud of their program and are ready to get over that hump,” added Klahold. “There’s a great foundation of young ladies here and they really want to put their footprint down on this program.”
Although Klahold has big ambitions for the long-term growth of the program, she knows that getting everybody on the same page is extremely important first.
“Right now, it’s really about getting to know the girls,” stated Klahold. “Getting familiar with their strengths and the things that they want to improve on is important.”
However, Klahold feels like she is more than capable of bringing a winning culture to Wilkes.
“They’ve been to playoffs,” noted Klahold. “They’ve had three, 20-win programs in a row, and that’s huge. My goal is to really help them push through and finish.”
Klahold has some previous experience with success, as she turned the Penn College softball program into a powerhouse, leading them to a 24-15 record and the program’s first ever North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Championship game. Klahold hopes to bring similar success to Wilkes, and expects the program to contend for many seasons to come.
“Long-term, you’re looking at consistently having a competitive program every year,” said Klahold. “Competing for a championship and moving forward with NCAAs is the goal of every student-athlete on the field.”
Klahold will look to start a successful tenure this spring, as the Colonels continue their quest to finally secure a MAC Freedom Championship.