Following the departure of 17-year head coach Bridget Orchard, Director of Athletics Dave Roach moved swiftly to fill the role, hiring Melissa Inouye as the next head coach of the Fordham softball program. Inouye, a former Fordham assistant coach herself in 2012, had most recently served as head coach of nearby Iona for the past six seasons.
"We are thrilled to announce the hiring of Melissa Inouye as the next head coach of our softball program," Roach said in a statement, "As a former assistant to Bridget Orchard here at Fordham, she has a true knowledge of the program and the university. She has demonstrated her ability with six successful years at Iona College, where she was a two-time MAAC Coach of the Year. We look forward to working with Coach Inouye in the years to come."
Inouye spent one season as an assistant coach at Fordham under Orchard, in 2012, when the team finished runners-up in the conference standings in a season that included a home win over #3 Alabama in the regular season finale, the program's best win against a nationally-ranked opponent. The Rams finished the season with a 32-26 overall record and 15-6 in league action. Inouye also created and directed the team's booster club and served as head travel coordinator.
That following offseason, Inouye was hired as head coach of the Iona softball program, where she had remained the past six seasons. While in charge of the Gaels, Inouye was named MAAC Coach of the Year on two occasions, including in 2017 after leading the team to the MAAC regular season title with a 15-5 league record and the inaugural National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC), where Iona defeated Campbell for its first-ever postseason victory. Inouye also took home the MAAC's top coaching honors after leading the program to its sixth conference championship, and a trip to the Seattle NCAA Regional, in 2014.
In New Rochelle, Inouye saw four major awards for her student-athletes, eight First Team All-Conference honorees, 11 Second Team selections, and three All-Rookie nods. Over seven seasons, 69 student-athletes earned MAAC All-Academic distinction.
Prior to her first stint at Fordham, Inouye spent four seasons at Southern Mississippi, where she oversaw the pitching staff and assisted with the defense and hitting. Before that, she served as an assistant coach at Kentucky where she earned her Master's degree in sports leadership. In Lexington, Inouye held several responsibilities, including recruiting coordinator, outfield coach, compliance liaison, co-director of camps, and director of the booster club. Prior to that, Inouye was an assistant coach at Northwestern State and, before that, began her coaching career as a volunteer at her alma mater, UNLV.
Inouye was a two-year starter with the Rebels, playing first base and catcher, and served as a team captain. She was a three-time Academic All-Mountain West selection, a seven-time Dean's List honoree, and earned the Coaches' Award during her senior season. Inouye graduated with her Bachelor's degree in recreation and leisure studies and fitness management.