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A Look Back at the Lori Mayhew-Wood Era

Lori Mayhew-Wood's name is synonymous with Western New England softball. Mayhew-Wood retired as head coach of the WNE softball program this summer to transition into a full-time administrative role as Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator, ending a 27-year association with the program.

A 1995 Western New England graduate, Mayhew-Wood’s contributions as both a player and coach have established the Golden Bears as one of the top softball programs in the region.

She has been associated with WNE Softball for 27 of the program’s 40-year history, beginning as a standout player from 1992-95. Mayhew-Wood still holds the record for career (.403) and single season (.485) batting average and became the first softball player to be inducted into the Downes Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.

The Westfield, Mass. native began her coaching career at Western New England just two years after graduating in 1997 and took over the head role in 1999. She quickly built her alma mater into a contender, as the Golden Bears improved from 15 wins in her first season to consecutive 20+ win campaigns in 2000 and ’01. The following season in 2002, Western New England went 34-9-1 and captured its first GNAC title before making the program’s first ever appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

In 2003, Mayhew-Wood guided the Golden Bears to their most successful campaign in history, as the team won its second straight GNAC title, captured the NCAA regional crown and advanced all the way to the NCAA Final Eight in Salem, Va.

Led by future Hall of Fame pitcher Marcie Bruder, who went 20-5 with a 1.10 ERA, the Golden Bears posted a 32-7 record, including 19-2 in GNAC action. Western New England defeated Wheaton twice to earn the regional title and a trip to the Women's College World Series. Mayhew-Wood's squad finished 10th in the final NFCA Division III national poll. The 2003 softball team was later recognized for its accomplishments when it was inducted into the Downes Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.

The Golden Bears' run of success continued the next three seasons with a combined record of 109-27 (.801) from 2004-06, winning GNAC championships and appearing in the NCAA Tournament all three years.

After dominating the GNAC for nearly a decade, Western New England joined the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) for the 2008 campaign.

The Golden Bears reached the 30-win mark in 2009 and accomplished the feat again in 2015, when Western New England claimed its first CCC crown with a 4-1 triumph over Endicott in the championship contest. The victory secured the first CCC title for a women's program at WNE.

Mayhew-Wood accomplished another career milestone on March 24, 2016, as Western New England defeated Smith College in a pair of extra inning contests for her 499th and 500th career victories.

In her final season this past spring, the Golden Bears sent Mayhew-Wood out on top. Western New England completed an undefeated, 4-0 run through the CCC Tournament, culminating in an 8-4, comeback victory over Endicott College on the road to clinch the program's second CCC title in four years.

Over her illustrious 22-year coaching career, Mayhew-Wood received five conference coach of the year awards and compiled a 567-315-2 (.643) record with seven conference championships (five GNAC, two CCC) and seven appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Her teams finished below .500 just twice in over two decades, while winning 30+ games nine times and 20+ games on 19 occasions.

Lori Mayhew-Wood | By the Numbers

  • 567-315-2 record (.643) - most wins in program history
  • 7 Conference Championships/NCAA Tournament Appearances (2002-06, 2015, 2018)
  • 5 Conference Coach of the Year awards (’02, ’04, ’06, ’15, ‘16)
  • 2 All-Americans (Jackie Shedlock & Jackie Card)
  • 3 Academic All-Americans (Kate Farry, Marcie Bruder, Kristy Kehoss)
  • 28 All-New England selections
  • 90 All-Conference selections

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