Current professor in the Physical Education Department, Dr.Kathy Mangano has created a memorable legacy at Springfield College as both a player and a coach.
One of the top softball players in the school’s history, Mangano played under fellow Springfield College Hall of Fame softball coach Dr.Diane Potter, for who the current field is named after, from 1983-1985. Mangano started four seasons at first base, captaining the team both her junior and senior seasons in 1985 and 1986.
Before the team moved into the division two NE-8 (Now NE-10) conference in the middle of Mangano’s time at Springfield, the Pride played a mixed schedule of top division one and division two teams around the area including UMass Amherst, UConn, Providence College, URI and Bentley University.
Mangano’s teammates were highly skilled and together they closed out the last few seasons of Coach Potter’s career, the program’s first coach.
“I played with the likes of Ann-Marie Rodrigue, Tammy Owen, and Jen and Jacquie Wilson. Incredible…they taught me. I was in awe of their talent,” said Mangano. “My freshman year, Dr.Potter put nine freshman on the team. We were very young. The majority of us stayed together for those four years and it was just amazing.”
Finishing the 1985 season with a team high .407 batting average, Mangano was First-Team All-New England and earned First-Team All-American honors as well. After graduation, Mangano attended graduate school at Springfield, and went on to take over the head coaching job in 1990.
Mangano’s coaching career with the Pride showcased dominance for two decades. She is the all-time winningest coach in the program’s history. Her teams totaled a combined record of 481-394-1, had five NCAA tournament appearances, won a NEWMAC regular season championship in 2007, and won the NEWMAC postseason championship in 2008.
Mangano was named NEWMAC Coach of the Year four times in her 20 seasons as coach of the Pride, and in 2000, she was named the New England Regional Softball Coach of the Year. It was the following season that stood out to Mangano though, reaching a school record for wins in a season with 41. The Pride only lost 10 games that year, and players Ali Gerrish (’03) and Nan Duga (’01), would eventually become members of the Athletics Hall of Fame.
“What’s interesting about that team is that we didn’t make the NCAA’s. We lost in the conference playoffs to Wheaton, and we didn’t get an automatic bid. In 2009, we were seeded fourth in the NEWMAC, we won the conference championship and we got the at-large bid.”
Inducted into the Winchester (MA) High School Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Northeast Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011, Mangano’s induction into the Springfield College Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 9th, further exemplifies her impact on the sport of softball in New England.
Now in her 27th year as a professor of physical education at her alma mater, Mangano has been presented with this honor, to be celebrated on Saturday, April 9 on campus, and she is truly passionate about her experiences at Springfield, and proud of her role as an educator as well. “When you see the student athletes come in as first years, and watch them walk across that stage at graduation … it’s amazing watching them grow.”