Molly O'Donnell enters her second season as an assistant coach on the Columbia softball staff. She came to Columbia from SUNY Cortland, where she spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons as an assistant coach.
O’Donnell specializes in hitting instruction and has extensive experience in offensive development, using practice programs, batting philosophies and analytical tools for player improvement and growth. In addition to her offensive responsibilities with the Lions, O’Donnell serves as the team’s recruiting coordinator and plays an integral role in scouting and team video operations.
O'Donnell's impact was felt immediately. In her first season, she helped the Lions set multiple offensive team records, including runs scored (205), home runs (37), RBIs (184) and total bases (539). The Lions led the Ivy League in runs, hits (347), doubles (69), home runs, RBIs (184) and walks, while ranking No. 2 in slugging (.436). Junior Madison Gott and first-year Sommer Grzybek each tied the program record with 10 home runs, while Gott set team single-season records in batting average (.381), hits (59), total bases (102), RBI (40). Grzybek set a new program record in slugging (.690. The power duo each earned All-Ivy League accolades.
“I am more than excited to have Molly join our staff,” stated head coach Jennifer Teague upon O'Donnell's hire. “She brings energy, youth and a continued commitment to learn more about the game as it evolves. On top of her duties in assisting our team offensively, Molly will work defensively with our infielders. She played for and coached beside two NFCA Hall of Famers, so I know her work ethic and inner drive will help make Columbia softball second to none in the Ivy League.”
O’Donnell worked alongside National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Hall of Famer Julie Lenhart in her two seasons at SUNY Cortland. Lenhart has coached the Red Dragons for 22 seasons, winning more than 800 career games, qualifying for 15 NCAA Division III playoffs and seven World Series. O’Donnell assisted Lenhart’s teams to their two most recent Div. III playoff appearances in 2015 and ’16.
Prior to her time at SUNY Cortland, O’Donnell spent the 2014 season at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where she helped guide the Thoroughbreds to their first postseason appearance in four years. O’Donnell and the rest of the Skidmore staff were named 2014 Liberty League Coaching Staff of the Year.
O’Donnell was a two-year captain and four-year letterwinner at Ithaca College. There, she was coached by NFCA Hall of Famer Deb Pallozzi, who has amassed 790 career wins following the 2016 campaign. O’Donnell was named a First Team Empire 8 All-Star as a freshman in 2010, and earned second-team accolades after hitting .348 with 29 RBIs her junior season. O’Donnell’s performance in the 2010 postseason landed her on the NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team.
O’Donnell graduated magna cum laude from Ithaca College in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management. She went on to complete her master’s in sport management at SUNY Cortland in 2015. Additionally, O’Donnell has completed National Fastpitch Coaches Convention (NFCC) courses in World Series Observation, Offensive Strategy and Dynamic Practice Planning.