By: Jack Loennecker – Layout Editor
Softball Coach Hallie Cohen hugged players and shook their hands. The Pioneers were celebrating as if they won a series sweep. In truth, the Pioneers had won only the first game of a double-header at Rutgers-Newark on April 9. But the moment was especially sweet for Cohen – it was the 800th win in her collegiate coaching career.
The Pioneers’ successes were almost immediate after Cohen took over in 1995. In her 22 seasons in Wayne Cohen has become the winningest coach in Pioneers softball history with more than 600 wins. Tack on her victories at Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham, and she has reached 800 collegiate wins overall.
Most of Cohen’s successes took place under retiring Associate Director of Athletics Cindy Cohen (no relation) who was honored for 14 years of service last Tuesday by throwing the ceremonial first pitch for a pair of contests against Ramapo that the Pioneer softball team hosted.
“As a coach, each win is as enjoyable as the next,” Hallie Cohen said.
A four-time coach of the year, she has led the Pioneers to four NJAC Tournament Championships and two NCAA East Regional Titles. Cohen thanked the players who helped build and sustain the program.
“The strength of this team is our depth and each player has contributed at some point in the season,” Cohen said.
The Pioneers are well on their way more successes after passing the halfway point of the season. Cohen commended her players on forming a tight-knit group and working hard.
“To me, what is special is the team chemistry and how hard this group works in practice every day,” Cohen said. “They push one another so when we get into a game situation it is nothing different than what we do every day.”
One of Cohen’s most notable WPU experiences was when the Pioneers came out of the losers’ bracket in the 2001 Regional Tournament to beat Cabrini College twice and qualify for the national tournament. Another memorable victory came earlier this season when Kaitlyn Poretti hit a walk-off two-run home run in a comeback win against conference rival TCNJ.
Cohen not only led the softball team but coached the William Paterson field hockey team for nine years, racking up more than 200 wins. Under her watch, the Pioneers reached their first NCAA Tournament in 2001 and won their first postseason game in 2003 when they reached the ECAC Mid-Atlantic Region Tournament Final.
But William Paterson athletics is not the only program Cohen left her mark on. When coaching at Fairleigh Dickinson, Cohen went 195-155-1 and also coached its field hockey team. Cohen was inducted into Farleigh Dickinson’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.
Cohen said she hopes the William Paterson softball team can make a national tournament appearance. “They want to win,” she said, “and expect nothing less than their best effort every day.”