LaDonia Hughes hired as new head softball coach

Oakland University has hired LaDonia Hughes as its new head softball coach last week.

Hughes replaces interim coach Jane Zimmerman, who took over after former head coach Glenn MacDonald retired at the start of last season.

“We feel very fortunate to bring a quality individual to Oakland that has an understanding and commitment to our mission and core values,” Huth said in a statement released by the university. “LaDonia’s wealth of professional playing experience and proven success in the Summit League makes this an exciting time for our softball program.”

The job is Hughes’ first as a head coach, but she comes to Oakland with a strong familiarity with the Summit League. Hughes spent the past four years as an assistant coach at Western Illinois. Prior to her coaching career, Hughes spent six seasons playing in the National Professional Fastpitch Association (NPF).

“The position at Oakland opened up and I applied for it because I wanted to have the chance to be a head coach, and I feel that my familiarity with the Summit League and my hands-on experience working at WIU makes for a good fit,” Hughes said. “Right now, I’ve got to adjust to the recruiting process and get to know the area a little bit more so I can bring in quality players from Michigan and other surrounding states.”

Being the third head coach in the past two seasons, Hughes understands the importance of creating an atmosphere of stability within the softball program.

“It’s very important to get in and set a tone for the team,” Hughes said. “You have to establish a set of rules and goals to achieve so that the team knows what you’re setting out to do and what’s expected of them.”

Her first priority at Oakland will be to unify the team.

“I want to establish a cohesive unit that focuses on the team as a whole,” Hughes said. “When you have a cohesive unit with open communication and function as a unit, anything is possible, and we’re setting high standards.”