Shane Winkler, former head coach at Charleston Southern, will lead GW’s softball program, athletic director Tanya Vogel announced in a release Thursday.
Winkler’s hiring comes less than two months after former head coach James DeFeo’s contract was not renewed to return to the program. Under DeFeo, the Colonials won a program-high 33 games in the 2018 season and also set a new home game winning streak.
During his 10 seasons at Charleston Southern, Winkler established a prominent legacy in the program. He leaves as the winningest coach in program history with 261 victories during his tenure, including three 30-win seasons. In 2014, he led the Buccaneers to a Big South championship victory – their first in more than two decades – and the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth.
Last season, his squad finished 26–30 overall and 7–14 in-conference, which tied them for sixth place out of eight Big South teams. The team did not advance to conference playoffs.
Before he took over the team at Charleston Southern in 2008, Winkler was an assistant coach for three seasons at Marshall University.
In addition to coaching NCAA softball, Winkler spent time coaching the National Pro Fastpitch league, one of two professional softball leagues in the United States. He was head coach of the Chicago Bandits for a summer season in 2014 and previously worked as an assistant for the team in 2009.
Vogel said in the release that Winkler’s commitment to fostering leadership in his athletes made him the best fit for the position.
“His vision for excellence is in line with ours as we will immediately compete for Atlantic 10 Championships and make a move on the national level,” she said in the release.
Winkler will inherit a GW team that finished sixth in the A-10 last season. The Colonials were eliminated on the second day of A-10 Championship play following back-to-back losses to Fordham and Dayton. The squad is set to return 14 players from last season’s roster.