Beginning in the spring of 2014 Penn State Brandywine will add women's softball to its list of athletic offerings. The campus will kick off its inaugural season in February with new Head Coach Mark Caserta at the helm.
"Softball is a huge step for us," said Athletic Director Jim Gastner. "It's a great fit for our campus as a spring sport and it allows us to enhance the opportunities for our athletes. Between the players we have on hand, along with potential recruits that have already expressed an interest in our program, we anticipate being a contender right out of the block."
Caserta, a Philadelphia resident, brings exceptional experience to the new Brandywine softball program as he most recently served as the head coach for Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor. During his five seasons at Archbishop Carroll he led the Lady Patriots to the playoffs four times. In 2011, Caserta's squad reached the Catholic League semi-finals at Arcadia University only to fall a run short of reaching the finals. He finished his tenure with the Lady Patriots with the record for most wins, with 66-37 during his five year's there.
"I will do my best to put together a team that the University can be proud of," Caserta said. "Recruiting high quality character student athletes is the [key] to a successful program. The name Penn State alone brings a sense of pride and responsibility ? It is quite rewarding to know that a new program has the confidence in me to lead, especially at such a prestigious place like Penn State Brandywine."
The Lady Lions will compete in the Penn State University Athletic Conference, challenging 10 other Penn State Commonwealth campuses. The women's squad will also have the opportunity to face other opponents during the spring, as they will take a team trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for a week of softball competition.
"I feel blessed, fortunate and, of course, very honored to be coaching at this University," Caserta added. "This is something I love doing, obviously, but being the head coach at Brandywine is even more special." Caserta said his priority is "to be able to put a competitive team together." To accomplish this, he will teach his players to "play as a cohesive unit, make sure we continue to grow as a team and ensure that we are having fun."
A land survey is currently underway, which will determine the best placement for the women's future softball field. The team will host home games at an off-campus location until the new field is completed.
Recruiting for the new team is underway. Current and future students who are interested in playing softball for Brandywine can visit the Penn State Brandywine Athletics webpage and click on the "recruit me" tab. For additional information regarding the program, email Athletic Director Jim Gastner at JLG257@psu.edu.
-by Mike McDade