Associate Head Coach - Caryl Drohan
Kate Drohan on Caryl: "Working with Caryl is like a dream come true. I admire the loyalty and dedication she possesses and her knowledge of the game is outstanding."
Caryl Drohan is entering her 18th season with Northwestern alongside her twin sister, head coach Kate Drohan. After three seasons as an assistant coach for the 'Cats, Caryl was promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2005 season. She came from Hofstra University after spending five years on the coaching staff there -- four as an assistant coach and the 2001 season as the associate head coach.
Primarily responsible for hitting, Drohan has led the Wildcats into the offensive upper echelon of the nation, breaking and re-breaking school records in the process. In NU's best offensive season to date in 2014, the squad's top-to-bottom plate presence resulted in a school-record .332 team batting average and a program-best 6.55 runs per game.
Drohan began helping NU establish new standards long before that. As a team in 2004, NU broke school records for home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. Then-freshman Garland Cooper won the Big Ten batting title with a .384 mark and shattered five Wildcat single-season records.
That offensive production exploded during NU's 2005 season. Sixteen individual Northwestern batting records fell, and Cooper was named Big Ten Player of the Year. NU shattered team marks for home runs (by 23; 56 total) and slugging percentage (by .054; .462 total), while putting up in the second-best team batting average in school history.
In 2006, Northwestern qualified for its first Women's College World Series in 20 years, and went a perfect 3-0 through bracket play to reach the championship series. In those three games, the Wildcats hit a WCWS-best six home runs. The Wildcats also captured their first Big Ten title since 1987 and reached the 50-win plateau for the first time in school history.
Drohan coached Cooper to her second-consecutive Big Ten Player of the Year honor and her third-straight batting title in `06, while helping freshman Tammy Williams set school records for runs scored, total bases and home runs. Williams was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
The offensive numbers continued to skyrocket in 2007, when Northwestern again broke its school record with 52 wins. The Wildcats shattered 35 individual and team single-season or career records, including crushing a whopping 85 home runs to annihilate the old mark of 56.
Cooper was named an NFCA All-American for the third time and became the first student-athlete in conference history to win a third-consecutive Big Ten Player of the Year award. Freshman Nicole Pauly's 14 home runs and 62 RBIs helped her become NU's third conference Freshman of the Year in the previous four seasons. Cooper hit a school-record 23 home runs in 2007, ending her career as the Big Ten's leader in homers with 55. Williams re-broke her own school records for runs scored (73), hits (91) and total bases (155).
In 2008, Williams earned her second NFCA All-America first team honor and was named Big Ten Player of the Year while breaking school records for batting average (.440) and on-base percentage (.538). NU finished in the top 10 in the nation with 1.25 home runs per game. Up and down the order, the Wildcats were solid, with eight Wildcats hitting better than .250 and 10 batting better than .244.
Williams was named Big Ten Player of the Year again in 2009, breaking her own school-record for batting average with a .448 mark. Adrienne Monka had the best season a freshman has ever put together for the Wildcats, earning an NFCA All-America first-team accolade after slugging a school-record .900 and ranking in the top-five in the nation in home runs per game, slugging percentage, RBIs per game and total home runs. As a team, NU ranked second in the country with 1.72 homers per game and broke school single-season marks for batting average (.294), slugging percentage (.542) and on-base percentage (.383).
With an offense more focused on slapping and speed in 2011, Drohan coached the Wildcats to a school-record .309 batting average -- the first time any Wildcat team ever hit better than .300. Sophomore slapper Emily Allard shattered Williams' school-record for batting average with a .491 mark while Monka also surpassed it with a .461 average while slugging .865 with a school-record .707 on-base percentage.
Sophomore Marisa Bast joined the ranks of Drohan-coached All-Americans in 2012, falling just two RBIs shy of the school single-season mark during a campaign in which she batted .411 with a .730 slugging percentage, 13 home runs and 68 RBIs.
In 2013, sophomore Amy Letourneau won the Big Ten batting title at the plate while also winning the strikeout crown as a pitcher in the circle -- becoming the first conference student-athlete to ever accomplish that feat.
Most recently, first-year Rachel Lewis became the fourth rookie to earn an NFCA All-America award under Drohan's tutelage when she was tabbed a second-teamer in 2018. Lewis broke NU's first-year records for RBIs with 64 and doubles with 16 while finishing as a top-10 finalist for the NFCA National Freshman of the Year award.
Drohan and the NU coaching staff have twice been named Speedline/NFCA Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year (2005-06) and earned the 2006 Speedline/NFCA National Staff of the Year award.
In the last 14 years, Wildcat batters have earned 12 All-America accolades, and Cooper and Williams both earned U.S. National Team selection camp invitations. Williams became the first NU hitter to ever make the U.S. National Team in 2010, and she is the only four-time NFCA All-American in school history.
During Drohan's time at Hofstra, the Pride won four-consecutive America East championships (1998-2001) and advanced to the NCAA Championships three straight times (1999-2001). In 2000, the Hofstra coaching staff was a National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) regional staff of the year.
In her five years with the Pride, Drohan coached a pair of All-Americans. Her players earned 21 All-Region awards as well as 27 All-America East honors.
Prior to her arrival at Hofstra, Drohan spent a year at Providence as an assistant coach. She also played at Providence from 1992-95, lettering four times as the Lady Friars went 145-72. They won ECAC Championships in 1994 and 1995, the Big East title in 1994, and played in the 1994 NCAA Championship. Drohan was second- team All-ECAC in 1994 and second- team All-Big East in 1995. She received a degree in social science from Providence.
Active on the camp circuit, Drohan has traveled all over the nation to work with high school, club, ASA and fellow collegiate coaches. Her travels have taken her from the East Coast to Hawaii and all points in between, lecturing on hitting and offensive technique and strategy.
Drohan also served as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Force of National Professional Fastpitch in 2006. She resides in Chicago.
Assistant Coach - Michelle Gascoigne
Michelle Gascoigne, a 2013 NCAA champion and former ace of National Pro Fastpitch's Chicago Bandits, joined the Wildcats' staff as pitching coach in September of 2015.
In her first three seasons, Gascoigne has brought about a major drop in the ERA of every pitcher on her staff. In 2017, the Wildcats four hurlers (including one senior) entered with just 191 combined innings of experience. Gascoigne led the young squad to a team ERA of 3.42 -- the best NU mark since the 2011 season -- against the nation's fifth-toughest nonconference strength of schedule.
Gascoigne showed her truly great coaching chops in 2018 when NU's top-two returning pitchers were lost for the year early in the campaign. Gascoigne led first-year Kenna Wilkey to NU's first 20-win season since 2009 while converting sophomore Morgan Newport from a lefty stopper out of the bullpen into a bonafide starter who tossed both a four-hit shutout of No. 11 Alabama and a no-hitter in the semifinal round of the 2018 Big Ten Tournament. Even with a depleted staff, the Wildcats advanced to the championship games of both the B1G Tournament and the NCAA Athens Regional while compiling the program's most wins in a season since 2008.
A Capital One Academic All-American in 2013, Gascoigne graduated from Oklahoma with a degree in education. She combined with classmate Keilani Ricketts to form the best pitching duo in the nation that season, leading the Sooners to the Women's College World Series championship game where Gascoigne threw a three-hit shutout to secure the national title for OU.
Over her collegiate career, Gascoigne compiled a 49-7 record with a 1.65 ERA and 507 strikeouts in 378.0 innings pitched while holding opponents to a .189 average. The lefty strikeout artist was one of 10 finalists for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award.
Following the completion of her collegiate career, Gascoigne began playing professionally for the Bandits. Gascoigne was an All-NPF selection in both 2013 and 2014, and helped pitch the Bandits to the National Professional Fastpitch Cowles Cup Championship in 2015. She assumed the leadership role of the Bandits' pitching staff in the 2016 season.
Gascoigne has prior coaching experience after serving as a graduate manager for her alma mater from 2014-15.
Volunteer Assistant Coach - Courtney Gano
Team USA and Chicago Bandits standout Courtney Gano has joined Northwestern as its volunteer assistant coach for the 2019 season.
Gano played her college softball at the University of Washington, graduating in 2016 before going on to play professionally in both Italy and with the Chicago Bandits of National Pro Fastpitch. She is a current member of Team USA, earning selection to the National Team in 2018 and playing in the Japan All-Star series and USA International Cup. She was recently selected to play in the Japan Cup later this fall.
Gano batted .348 for the Bandits this summer, playing alongside current graduate assistant coach Abby Ramirez. Prior to joining Chicago, Gano hit an astronomical .570 in 18 starts with the Italian-based club Forlì in 2017.
Gano brings a wealth of infield knowledge to the ’Cats, having played all over the diamond at Washington with starts at shortstop, third base, first base and behind the plate. She split time at both corner infield positions while also catching during her rookie season with the Bandits.
After receiving a medical hardship waiver following an injury as a sophomore in Seattle, Gano burst onto the collegiate scene as a redshirt junior in 2015. She led the Huskies with 18 home runs and 59 RBIs to earn NFCA All-Region and All-Pac-12 selections. She closed her career by batting .373 with a .457 on-base percentage and a .627 slugging percentage as a senior.
Director of Operations - Andrea Filler
Northwestern graduate Andrea Filler remains in Evanston to serve the Wildcats as Director of Operations for both field hockey and softball during the 2018-19 seasons.
She previously served the softball program as Director of Operations for the 2018 season after spending 2017 as the squad's graduate manager.
A 2014 transfer into the Northwestern softball program, Filler concluded her career in 2016 ranked third in NU history in doubles (40), fourth in slugging (.693), sixth in batting (.351), seventh in on-base percentage (.433) and RBIs (159), eighth in total bases (316) and ninth in home runs (34) despite playing just three years in Evanston.
Filler played professionally in Italy in 2017, one year after winning the 2016 National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) Cowles Cup with the Chicago Bandits alongside Northwestern pitching coach Michelle Gascoigne. She completed her master's degree in sports administration last year and spent 2017 working toward a second master's degree from NU.