AMHERST – University of Massachusetts head softball coach Elaine Sortino has informed her team and the Department of Athletics that she has been diagnosed and is currently receiving treatment for a form of cancer.
Sortino, who also serves as the department’s Associate Athletic Director/Senior Women’s Administrator, will continue to serve as the head coach of the softball team, however, day-to-day operations will be handled by associate head coach Kathryn Gleason and assistant coach Kristi Stefanoni.
“Elaine informed her team tonight following the Boston College game and asked us to inform fans and the general public as to her situation,” said Director of Athletics John McCutcheon. “She is undergoing treatments right now and will continue to be as involved as possible with the team as our head coach. Her coaching staff, the athletic department and all involved with the program support her as she continues to fight this disease.”
The news of Sortino’s illness was not a surprise to those close to the program. She had not been able to make all the team’s road games this season.
“Going forward, we ask that people respect Elaine’s privacy as she deals with this fight,” said McCutcheon. “Questions regarding Elaine can be sent to myself or Jaime Seguin who is our Associate Senior Women’s Administrator. This is a trying time for both Elaine and the student-athletes of her team and we will give them the full support of the department and the University.”
Sortino, who is in her 33rd season as head coach, has sent the Minutewomen to three appearances in the College World Series.
Sortino has a 1,129-470-6 record and the Minutewomen are 17-11 this season.
Sortino is in her 33rd year as the head coach at UMass and is one of just five active coaches in the NCAA with over 1,100 wins. She is one of just eight coaches in NCAA history to hit the 1,000-win plateau. A member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Sortino has led UMass to 22 Atlantic 10 titles, 20 NCAA regional appearances, and three trips to the NCAA College World Series. She is a 10-time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year honoree.
Spy comment: Elaine has always brought a certain style and grace to her personal and professional dealings with her team, her coaching colleagues and the press. A champion in life and on the fields of play, we pray for her full recovery. RFH