In six seasons at the helm of the softball program at Barry, Danielle Penner has fast-tracked the Bucs back to the top of NCAA Division II programs.
She has compiled a 225-97 mark, including a 95-45 record in Sunshine State Conference competition. She led the Bucs to a 44-8 record in 2008, including a 35-game winning streak, to set school records for winning percentage and consecutive wins.
In 2011, the Bucs advanced back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008, going 34-14 and 18-5 in the SSC to place third. Outfielder Grace Collins earned First-Team NFCA All-America honors and tacked on a Third-Team selection from Daktronics. Brianna Smith earned Second-Team honors from the NFCA as a utility pitcher and first baseman Jessica Tabor was honorable mention on the Daktronics list.
Playing with one of the youngest rosters in the SSC, Penner led the Bucs to back-to-back 32 win seasons in 2009 and 2010. Amber Jack picked up an honorable mention All-America nod in 2009, running Penner’s total of All-Americans to eight.
The Bucs enjoyed a special season in 2008, rolling off 35 straight wins to claim the top spot in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association national poll. Barry claimed its fifth SSC title, as Jack was named SSC Pitcher of the Year. Jack, rightfielder Cristina Detagle, second baseman Ashley Likens and designated player Megan Young were all named to various All-America squads.
In 2007, she guided the Bucs to a 44-19 overall record and a #16 final ranking in the NFCA Top-25 Division II post-season poll. Penner led the Bucs to their second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and a tie for third in the Sunshine State Conference with a 15-9 conference record. Barry also earned the NCAA Statistical Champion Award for lowest team ERA in Division II with a 0.92 team earned run average.
In her first season as head coach, she guided the Bucs back to national prominence with a 39-13 overall record. Barry started the season unranked in the NFCA Top-25 Division II preseason poll, but moved up to eighth in the first regular season poll after a 13-2 start. Behind Penner’s expertise, the Buccaneers finished second in the SSC with an 18-6 league record and made their 12th appearance in the NCAA South Regional tournament.
Her teams have also had success in the classroom. In her five seasons, 13 Penner disciples have garnered 23 NFCA Scholar All-America nods. Over her five years the Bucs have consistently been a Top-20 team, ranking 17th, seventh, 10th, third and 11th in NCAA Division II in team grade point average.
An assistant coach for the Buccaneers from 2001-2004 under former head coach Shelly Lis, Penner helped lead the team to a fifth-place finish at the 2002 NCAA Division II Elite Eight tournament, a school-record 52 wins in 2003 and two Sunshine State Conference titles.
From 1998-2000, she worked as the assistant softball coach at her alma mater, California-Pennsylvania.
Penner brings with her over 10 years of camp coaching experience in both the United States and Canada. In 1999, she established the Elite Softball Clinic in Ontario designed to teach the mechanics of fastpitch softball to females between the ages of eight and 18. In 1997 and 1998, she worked the Fastpitch Coaches Showcase with USA Olympic Gold Medalists Lisa Fernandez, Michele Smith, Dani Tyler and Dionne Harris teaching fundamentals and techniques of hitting, fielding and pitching.
One of the most accomplished and decorated pitchers in NCAA Division II softball history, she was voted to the NCAA Division II Silver Anniversary Softball team.
In four seasons at California, Pa., she went 144-15 to set division records for wins and winning percentage (.906). She was also a three-time NFCA All-American and earned national tournament honors in 1996, 1997 and 1998, including MVP in 1997 and 1998 when CUP won the nationa title.
A dominating force in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, she posted a perfect 80-0 conference record in four seasons, earning all-conference honors each season and MVP honors as a junior and senior.
In 1997, she had one of the best seasons ever for a pitcher. She won a Division II-record 50 games, losing just three times, for a .943 winning percentage. She also posted a national-best 0.51 ERA to lead the Vulcans to their first-ever NCAA Division II national title.
She led CUP back to the national title in 1998, defeating Barry 2-1 in the championship game. That year, she earned NCAA Division II National Softball Player of the Year distinction from the NFCA, which led to her selection as the Honda-Broderick Female Athlete of the Year for Division II. A two-time CUP Athlete of the Year selection in 1997 and 1998, Penner was also nominated to represent CUP as an NCAA Woman of the Year Candidate.
From 1994-97, she was a member of Team Ontario. In 1996, she led the team to the bronze medal at the Canadian national championships, earning MVP honors at the tournament. In 1997 and 1998, she was one of 17 athletes selected to the Canadian National Softball Program.
Penner has been featured in several national publications such as Sports Illustrated (1997 & 1998), People Magazine (1998) and Fitness Magazine (1998). She also authored “Fundamentals of Fastpitch Pitching” in the January 1999 issue of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association magazine.
She graduated from CUP in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management. She holds a master’s degree in sport management and an MBA from Barry University, both earned in 2004.