Amanda Lehotak enters her fifth season as the Penn State softball head coach in 2018.
In her fourth season at the helm, Lehotak led the Nittany Lions to 23 wins, including to the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament after an upset victory over Nebraska. The Blue and White picked up two wins over ranked opponents in the 2017 campaign, including beating then-No. 4 LSU and then-No. 25 Ohio State. Lehotak guided First Team All-Big Ten selection Tori Dubois to a .457 batting average in Big Ten play to rank third in the conference, while Rebecca Ziegler notched Big Ten All-Tournament honors in 2017. Senior Shelby Miller closed out her career under Lehotak ranking second in Penn State career laurels with 118 RBIs and went out as the career sacrifice hit leader with nine, while senior Kristina Brackpool ranks No. 7 all-time with 106 RBIs and No. 9 all-time with 19 home runs. In the circle, the Nittany Lions saw an increase in complete games going from 16 in 2016 to 25 in 2016, while strikeouts jumped from 180 to 194 in the 2017 campaign. Senior Marlaina Laubach started a team-best 25 games and threw 14 complete games en route to 12 wins. The right-handed hurler closed out her career as the all-time leader with 139 appearances in the circle and ranks third with 97 starts and fourth with four career saves. Laubach tallied 46 career victories to rank sixth all-time and tossed 611.1 innings to rank fifth all-time in Nittany Lion laurels, while her 49 complete games and 323 strikeouts rank seventh all-time for the Blue and White.
Lehotak led Penn State to its most successful season since the 2011 campaign with a 30-24 overall record and a fourth-place 14-9 record in the Big Ten Conference, breaking three offensive records in the process. The 2016 Nittany Lions posted a record-breaking .314 batting average with 468 hits that included 75 doubles. The Blue and White got off to its best start in conference action in the history of the program with an 11-3 record before winning a program-best five conference series and sweeping three B1G series in 2016. Penn State carried an 11-game win streak at Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field, sweeping two conference series at home. The Blue and White secured 14 wins in 2016, which ranks second in program history and earned 10 wins for just the eighth time in program history. Furthermore, the Nittany Lions reached their 10 conference victories in fewer games than any other team as it took just 13 conference contests. The Nittany Lion offense had 23 games with 10-or-more hits and scored 10-or-more runs on nine occasions. After the conclusion of conference play, the Blue and White paced the conference with 457 hits, while ranking third with a .317 batting average and a .969 fielding percentage.
In 2016, senior Macy Jones broke the Penn State career RBI record and walk record with 137 career RBI and 100 career walks donning the Blue and White. Furthermore, under Lehotak’s tutelage, Jones ranks in the top-10 in six single season batting categories and nine career batting categories at Penn State. Senior Lexi Knief also closed out her career in the top-10 of seven career batting categories for the Nittany Lions. Sophomore Alyssa VanDerveer tied the single game RBI record, driving in seven against Fordham and broke the single season RBI record with 50. VanDerveer found her name in the career batting record book four times after her sophomore campaign, ranking fourth in home runs with 24 after two seasons. The Nittany Lions also saw two other single game career records in 2016 with Jones tying the single game home runs record with two against Michigan State and Tori Dubois knocking three doubles against Michigan State. Finally, juniors Shelby Miller and Kristina Brackpool both found their names in the Penn State career record books with Miller ranking in the top-15 in batting average and RBI and Brackpool ranking in the top-10 in career home runs.
Defensively, Penn State finished the season ranked third in the Big Ten with a .969 fielding percentage, while senior Reina Furuya tied for third all-time in single game assists with eight against Saint Francis. In the circle, Marlaina Laubach established herself as the ace for Lehotak, tying for third in Penn State season history with 41 appearances and ranking fourth with 29 starts. Laubach also ranks 15th in innings pitched, tossing 165.2 for the Nittany Lions in the 2016 campaign.
The Blue and White advanced to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals for just the third time in program history with three student-athletes earning First Team All-Big Ten honors. Seniors Macy Jones and Lexi Knief and sophomore Alyssa VanDerveer earned the honor, marking the first time since 2013 that Penn State has had a first team honoree and the second time in program history that the Nittany Lions have had three first team nods. VanDerveer and Shelby Miller notched Big Ten All-Tournament team honors with VanDerveer knocking a grand slam in the quarterfinal and Miller being solid both offensively and defensively. Jones capped off her career as a NFCA All-Great Lakes Region First Team honoree and Knief earned third team honors for the second-straight season. In the classroom, 13 players earned Academic All-Big Ten honors for the Blue and White in the 2015-16 academic year.
Lehotak led the Nittany Lions to a 29-28 record in the 2015 campaign and a 9-14 record in Big Ten Conference action. Lexi Knief led the team with a .417 batting average en route to earning Second Team All-Big Ten honors and NFCA All-Region accolades, while her 75 hits in a single season set a Penn State record. Also earning Second Team All-Big Ten honors in 2015 was Macy Jones, who batted .343 in the 2015 campaign and tied for a team-high 46 RBI. As a team, Penn State broke five single season hitting records including: doubles (73), home runs (46), runs (287), RBI (267) and total bases (678). The Nittany Lion's 46 home runs in the 2015 campaign marked the first time since 2013 that the Blue and White had hit over 40 round-trippers in a season. Furthermore, the 2015 Nittany Lions posted a .296 batting average, which ties for a program-high, while their 449 hits rank second in Penn State laurels. Penn State also had five individuals rank in the Nittany Lion softball top-10 in 10 separate hitting categories and four rank in the top-10 in the Big Ten Conference. Moreover, six Nittany Lions found a place in six single game hitting catergories, including Jones scoring four runs against Wisconsin to rank first and Alyssa VanDerveer notching four walks to rank first in single game history for the Blue and White.
Penn State set a NCAA record when it hit two grand slams in one inning against Wisconsin, April 3, while VanDerveer hit three grand slams in 2015, which ties for third in NCAA history. The Blue and White's two grand slams came from Shelby Miller and Reina Furuya, who both launched grand slams in the fourth inning against Wisconsin, allowing them to be featured in Sports Illustrated. Penn State followed up the grand slam performance with back-to-back games with a grand slam in a doubleheader against Bucknell. Kristina Brackpool notched a grand slam in game one, while VanDerveer followed it up with a grand slam in game two against the Bison, Apr 1. As a team, Penn State hit seven grand slams in the 2015 campaign. Furthermore, the Nittany Lions posted a 12-game streak with 10 or more hits and 11-straight games with at least one home run.
Defensively, Miller notched Big Ten Defensive Team honors posting a .985 fielding percentage with 55 putouts and 80 assists. In the circle, Marlaina Laubach etched her name in Penn State laurels after making 34 appearances in the 2015 campaign.
The Blue and White advanced to the Big Ten Conference quarterfinal after defeating Maryland in the opening round and moved up two spots from the 2014 season in the regular season standings, finishing in a tie for eighth. In the classroom, 10 players earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, while Kneif and Alicia Walker garnered Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honors.
In her inaugural season at the helm of the program in 2014, Lehotak led the Nittany Lions to a 14-35 overall record with a 5-18 Big Ten record, finishing a spot higher in the conference standings than the year prior. Four players batted over .300 with Lexi Knief earning All-Big Ten second team accolades. Lehotak's team also achieved success in the classroom; nine players were named to the Academic All-Big Ten team and Alicia Walker garnered Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award honors.
Under Lehotak's tutelage, Lexi Knief scored four runs against Oregon State to tie for most runs in a single game, while Shelby Miller ties for second with three walks and tied for seventh with seven assists in a single game. Furthermore, Kneif ranked ninth in single season history with a .382 batting average in the 2014 campaign.
Named the seventh coach in program history on July 22, 2013, Lehotak came to Penn State with seven years of head coaching experience under her belt, including the previous two seasons at Texas-San Antonio.
Lehotak guided the Roadrunners to a 27-26 overall record in 2013 to give the program just their second winning overall record in the last seven years. She also led the team to a fifth-place finish and a berth in the WAC Tournament in UTSA's first season in the conference. Additionally, Darian Blake was named to the All-WAC first team.
In her first season at UTSA, Lehotak and the Roadrunners posted a 24-28 overall record and 12-8 mark in Southland Conference play en route to a third-place finish, which was the program's highest finish since 2009. She had five players earn All-Southland honors in 2012, including Freshman of the Year Megan Low.
Prior to her time at UTSA, Lehotak spent six seasons at Jacksonville University, including five as the head coach. The Dolphins improved their win total each of Lehotak's five seasons at the helm, culminating in a 44-16 overall record and 18-2 conference mark in 2011.
That season, Jacksonville won the Atlantic Sun regular-season and tournament titles on its way to the first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. Lehotak was selected as the 2011 Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year as her squad set school records for home runs, earned run average, shutouts and fielding percentage. Lehotak left Jacksonville with a school-record 137 wins.
In 2010, Lehotak led the Dolphins to a then-second-best win total in program history with a 33-23 overall record. Additionally, a then-program-record five student-athletes earned All-Atlantic Sun recognition under her guidance in 2010.
In addition to her one season as an assistant coach at Jacksonville, Lehotak was also an assistant coach at Missouri Western State for one season where she was responsible for recruiting, working with the outfielders, hitting instruction, coordinating camps and clinics, as well as managing the team's travel schedule.
She also served as an assistant coach at Daniel J. Gross High School in Bellevue, Nebraska and was an interim assistant coach at College of Saint Mary in Omaha (2004).
A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Lehotak played collegiately at the University of Mississippi for two seasons (2000-01) before finishing her career at Nebraska-Omaha (2002-03). She set the single-season hits record in 2001 at Ole Miss and was a third team All-American at UNO with a pair of first team All-North Central Conference selections. Lehotak earned her bachelor's degree in family science from Nebraska-Omaha in 2003.