CORTLAND, N.Y. - One of the nation's top collegiate softball coaches, Cortland's Julie Lenhart has announced her plans to retire at the conclusion of the 2019 season – her 25th with the Red Dragons and 30th overall in the college ranks. The State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) will be honoring Lenhart with its Retiree Award in May at the conference's annual awards banquet in Syracuse.
The Retiree Award is presented to personnel of full member institutions or the conference office with a minimum of 15 years of service within the conference.
A 2014 inductee into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Hall of Fame, Lenhart began coaching at Cortland in 1995 and in 24 years prior to 2019 has a record of 795-313-2 (.717) for the highest win total in Red Dragon softball history. Her overall record stands at 915-390-2 in 29 campaigns, including five seasons at Wisconsin-Platteville. During the 2018 season, Lenhart became just the sixth coach in NCAA Division III history to reach 900 career wins.
Lenhart's Cortland teams have qualified for the NCAA Division III playoffs 16 times, most recently three straight years from 2015-17 as well as seven straight years from 2007-13 and three consecutive years from both 1997-99 and 2003-05. Her squads have made seven World Series appearances, with a national runner-up showing in 2013, a fourth-place finish in 2011, fifth-place finishes in 2003 and 2008, and seventh-place finishes in 1998, 2004 and 2009. In addition, her teams tied for ninth nationally in both 2007 and 2017, falling in the finals of a seven-team NCAA regional in 2007 and winning a four-team regional in 2017 before losing in the super regional round.
Lenhart and her staff have been named the NFCA Northeast Region Coaching Staff of the Year seven times (1998, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013), and Lenhart was also named the East Region Coach of the Year in 1997. In addition, Lenhart has been chosen as State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Coach of the Year five times (1997, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2015), and she was the Wisconsin Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year twice (1990, 1992) at Wisconsin-Platteville.
Cortland teams under Lenhart have won SUNYAC postseason titles 11 times (1998, 2003, 2005, 2007-08, 2010-11, 2013, 2015-17), and she has led Cortland to either first or second place in the SUNYAC tournament every year since 1998. Since 2000, Cortland is a combined 309-48-2 (.864) in SUNYAC regular-season games, including unbeaten seasons in 2007 (20-0), 2010 (18-0) and 2011 (17-0-1), and one-loss seasons in 2009 (19-1), 2012 (17-1) and 2016 (17-1).
A native of McComb, Ohio, Lenhart is a 1980 graduate of Ohio Northern University. A Dean's List student, she lettered in basketball, softball and volleyball. She is a member of the ONU Athletic Hall of Fame. She also has taught and coached at the North Central Schools in Pioneer, Ohio, and at Shawnee High School in Lima, Ohio.