Head coach

Former shortstop now leads Tufts softball

Softball wasn't the main reason Cheryl Milligan decided to enroll at Tufts in 1991. She was a shortstop out of North Penn, Penn., recruited by Division I programs, but it was the academic opportunity that led her to Tufts.

Cheryl Milligan

Softball would soon become the most important part of her experience at Tufts. She and three teammates from the Class of 1995 led the young program to regional respect over their four years. Since then, the Tufts softball program has blossomed into one of New England's best. The Jumbos earned seven straight NCAA Tournament berths from 1997 to 2003 under Head Coach Kris Herman. Milligan was a part of six of those teams as an assistant coach, including the 2000 squad that won the NCAA New England Championship and played in the College World Series.

The next chapter of Milligan's involvement with the Tufts softball program has now begun. After 16 seasons, Herman left Tufts this summer to become the head coach at Williams College, and Milligan has been promoted to interim head coach.

"Our main priority was to maintain the continuity of one of our most successful programs," Director of Athletics Bill Gehling said. "Cheryl is highly respected by both present and former players and by the softball community. I fully expect her to put her own stamp on the strong tradition of Tufts Softball."

Milligan, 30, played shortstop for Herman in every inning of the 120 games during her Tufts softball career. Her .377 career batting average is fourth all-time at Tufts, and she is second on the team's career runs scored list with 119.

"The [Tufts athletes] are very positive about it," Milligan said. "It's important that they walk in and don't see a stranger. There will be some changes, but there's no need to reinvent the wheel here."

Milligan is the fourth head coach of the Tufts softball program. She will also serve as director of the intramural program at Tufts. She earned a master's degree in education from Tufts in 1999; her undergraduate degree is in biology and environmental science. She is working toward a Ph.D. at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.