Monica Wright joined the Valparaiso softball coaching staff as an assistant coach in July of 2015 and was promoted to associate head coach in June of 2017. Wright, who enters her sixth season with the Crusaders in 2021, works directly with the Crusader pitching staff.
The truncated 2020 campaign featured a strong performance by the Valpo pitching staff, as the Crusaders led the Missouri Valley Conference in opponents' batting average and ranked third in ERA. Valpo placed three pitchers among the conference's top-nine in both ERA and OBA, while Kelsie Packard returned to form, finishing the year third in the MVC in strikeouts.
The impact of Wright's work with the Valpo pitchers has been immediate and impressive. From 2015 to 2018, the ERA of Valpo’s pitching staff dropped by over four runs per game, while opponents hit over 100 points in 2018 than they were the season before Wright’s arrival. The Crusaders also issued over 40% fewer walks and allowed nearly 45% fewer home runs in 2018 as compared to 2015.
Wright led the Crusader pitching staff to its lowest ERA since 2012 and its highest strikeouts/7 innings rate since 2008 in 2018, an impressive feat considering the program jumped from the Horizon League to the Missouri Valley Conference - which finished the 2018 campaign ranked 12th in the nation in conference RPI. The Crusaders posted the MVC's second-best team ERA, trailing only conference champion Drake. Individually, she coached Kenzie Grossmann to 13 wins and a 1.75 ERA, the lowest ERA by a Crusader pitcher since 1990, while under her tutelage, Kelsie Packard went 6-3 with a 1.78 ERA in MVC play in her first year as a Crusader and was named the MVC Newcomer of the Year.
Wright guided Grossmann in her first season as a Crusader in 2017 to a Horizon League-best 20 victories, as Grossmann finished the year 20-12 with a 3.05 ERA and 120 strikeouts. Grossmann’s 20 wins ranked third in a single season in program history, while she also cracked Valpo’s single-season top-10 in strikeouts.
In her first season at Valpo in 2016, Wright's work with Valpo's pitchers paid dividends as the Crusaders claimed the Horizon League Championship and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Wright coached Taylor Weissenhofer to Second Team All-League accolades as she closed out her career as the program's all-time leader in strikeouts. Weissenhofer was also selected as the Pitcher of the Tournament at the Horizon League Championship as Crusader pitchers posted a 1.69 ERA in the team's four wins in their remarkable run to the league title.
During her four years at Bowling Green, Wright led a pitching staff which posted a cumulative ERA of 2.55 over her tenure. In 2012, the Falcons finished the season with a 2.10 ERA, which ranked 32nd in the country, while the next season saw BGSU post a MAC-best earned run average of 2.17, good for 24th nationally.
Wright guided a pair of pitchers while at BGSU who both rank among the Falcons’ top-10 winningest pitchers of all time and are 1-2 in Bowling Green history in saves. Jamie Kertes finished her career third in program history in strikeouts and fourth in victories. Kertes was named the MAC Freshman of the Year in 2012 and was a two-time First Team All-Conference award winner. Meanwhile, Paris Imholz was an All-Freshman Team selection as a rookie and was also a Second Team All-Conference honoree.
Prior to arriving at Bowling Green, Wright spent the 2011 season as an assistant pitching coach at Elon, where she helped guide the Phoenix to 30 victories as a pair of pitchers ranked among the top-seven in program history in single-season strikeouts. Wright has also spent time as a pitching instructor at Elite Sports Performance in Oswego, Ill. where she educated pitchers on proper pitching mechanics and fundamentals, as well as leading conditioning and agility drills.
Wright played three years collegiately at Indiana, where she made 124 career appearances, tossing 48 complete games. She recorded 30 wins as a Hoosier and registered 348 strikeouts. A Big Ten All-Academic Team choice, Wright ranks among the Hoosiers’ top-six all-time in career appearances, starts and innings pitched. She spent her first season at UNI, tallying team highs with 169.2 innings pitched and 91 strikeouts, before transferring to IU.