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Under head coach Cheryl Milligan, the Tufts University Softball program became the first team in NCAA Division III history to win three consecutive NCAA Division III championships from 2013-2015.
In the spring of 2015, Tufts finished 51-0 while capturing the national championship. The 7-4 victory over the University of Texas-Tyler in the national final extended Tufts' NCAA Division III record winning streak to 53 games, dating back to the two wins which clinched the 2014 national title over Salisbury. The 2015 Tufts team tied the NCAA Div. III record for the most wins in a season (51) with the 2011 Linfield team.
The Jumbos have played in five of the last eight NCAA Finals. Prior to the three straight national titles, Milligan coached the Jumbos into the NCAA Finals in 2009 and 2012 as well. The 2012 team finished tied for fifth nationally and the 2009 squad was fourth. During these years, Tufts had remarkable records of 44-3 (.936) in 2009, 41-7 (.854) in 2012, 46-3 (.939) in 2013 and 47-4 (.922) in 2014 before the prefect season in 2015. Tufts' 51-0 record that year is the best in NCAA history, while 2009, 2013 and 2014 all rank among the all-time top 20 for winning perfentage.
The 2013 Tufts squad was the first New England team to win the NCAA Softball Championship since Eastern Connecticut State University in 1990. Coach Milligan and her staff were recognized as the National Coaching Staff of the Year at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) convention that year. They won that award for both the 2014 and 2015 seasons as well.
The Jumbos nearly advanced to the NCAA Finals again in 2016. They hosted an NCAA Regional at Spicer Field and advanced to the final round before being eliminated by WPI. Tufts finished with a 30-12 record in 2016.
Tufts won four straight NCAA Regional/Super Regional championships (2012-15) and six overall during Milligan's tenture. They have also earned four of the last five New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crowns and 10 in total. Milligan was named NESCAC Coach of the Year four straight times and is an eight-time recipient overall. Her teams have a combined record of 437-124 for an outstanding .779 winning percentage. She is fifth among active coaches and sixth all-time for winning percentage in Division III.
The Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) presented Allyson Fournier, a pitcher recruited to Tufts by Coach Milligan and her staff, with the Honda Sports Award as NCAA Division III Athlete of the Year in both 2013 and 2015. Fournier was a NFCA First Team All-American four straight years. Eleven Jumbos have earned All-American honors during Milligan's tenure. She has also coached 10 NESCAC Players of the Year. Her 2005 Tufts team led the nation in home runs per game with a 1.20 per-game average. Milligan recruit Jo Clair is third all-time on the NCAA home runs list with 67 from 2011-14.
A 1995 Tufts graduate, Milligan was a four-year starter at shortstop and an assistant coach for six years at her alma mater. She was promoted to head coach of the Jumbos in July 2003. She played every inning of the 120 games during her Tufts softball career. Her .377 career batting average is 10th all-time, and she is ninth on the team’s career runs scored list with 119. Milligan was a member of the class that vaulted the softball program into annual post-season contention. The 1995 team hosted and won the ECAC North Championship, finishing with 31 wins.
Milligan is married to Jamie Pinzino, the associate head baseball coach at Virginia Tech. They have a three-year old son, Henry.