Danielle Henderson was named head coach of the River Hawks’ softball program on July 30, 2014. A former Olympic Gold Medalist and University of Massachusetts All-American, Henderson comes to UMass Lowell after serving as an associate head coach at her alma mater in 2014.
Henderson worked on the Massachusetts coaching staff from 2000-03 under National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Hall of Famer Elaine Sortino. Massachusetts went 187-86-1 during Henderson’s five seasons with the program, including 171-64 from 2000-03 with four consecutive NCAA Regional appearances and Atlantic 10 titles. In 2002, she helped guide the Minutewomen to a 33-game win streak and 53 total victories.
After serving as a private pitching instructor and playing professionally in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league for the Akron Racers, Arizona Heat and New England Riptide, Henderson spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio State (2011-12) and Stanford (2013). In 2013, the Cardinal went 39-21 and finished the season ranked 21st in the country, while advancing to the finals of the NCAA Lincoln Regional. Under Henderson’s tutelage, Kelsey Stevens was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team after compiling a 15-7 record, a 2.99 ERA, a team-high 163 strikeouts, seven shutouts and a perfect game against Virginia.
A native of Commack, N.Y., Henderson captured a gold medal as part of the U.S. National Team at the Pan American Games in 1999 before helping Team USA to its second consecutive Olympic Gold Medal at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia.
Henderson, a four-year standout at Massachusetts (1996-99), was a three-time All-American, a four-time All-Atlantic 10 selection and the only four-time Atlantic 10 Tournament Most Outstanding Player in league history. She finished her collegiate career with 25 school records and was second all-time on the NCAA strikeout list with 1,343 (currently 20th). As a senior in 1999, she set an NCAA record for consecutive scoreless innings, hurling 105 empty frames from March 16-May 2 en route to winning the Honda Award as the nation’s top college softball player. She also posted a 26-game win streak that year (Feb. 27-May 21), which was the seventh-best streak in NCAA history (currently 11th).
In her four years in Amherst, she posted a 108-35 record in 161 appearances (964 innings) with a 0.70 ERA, 72 shutouts and 135 complete games. Henderson threw an unprecedented 14 no-hitters and three perfect games, helping Massachusetts to four A-10 championships, four NCAA Regional appearances and a pair of Women's College World Series (WCWS) appearances (1997, 1998). She was also named to the 1997 WCWS All-Tournament Team. In 2001, she had her jersey number (44) retired at Massachusetts, becoming the first and only player in program history to receive such an honor. In 2002, she was inducted into the New England Women's Sports Hall of Fame.
Henderson received her bachelor's degree in sport management from Massachusetts in 1999.