St. Joe’s hires new softball coach
St. Joe’s officially named Erin Brooks the new head coach of the softball team on Nov. 7.
Brooks began her collegiate career playing at Cabrini College where she was named a second-team All-American as a sophomore in 2001. At Cabrini, Brooks was part of a team that was ranked as high as fourth in the country.
Following the season, she transferred to Fordham University soon after Cabrini’s coach, Bridget Orchard, took a position as the head coach. Between her time at Cabrini and Fordham, Brooks also spent a semester at Syracuse University, where she walked on to the basketball team.
Brooks was inducted into the Fordham Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015 for her softball performance. Together, Brooks and Orchard helped to lead Fordham to its first ever 30-win season in 2003 and developed a relationship that stands to this day.
“We talk all the time, we’re very close friends,” Brooks said. “She’s very much a mentor to me.”
Brooks is excited for the opportunity to be on the same field as Orchard, who still holds the head coach position at Fordham. The two will be sharing a field for the first time in 13 years when their two teams face off in a three-game series from March 30-31 at St. Joe’s.
Despite becoming opponents, Orchard plans to continue mentoring Brooks and helping out where needed.
“I’ll offer her advice,” Orchard said with a laugh. “I kind of hope our conference gets better. Obviously, we don’t want to lose, but I think St. Joe’s getting better and stronger is going to help us get stronger and better.”
Brooks graduated from Fordham summa cum laude with a degree in communications and intelligence systems. She now works as a data analyst for Major League Baseball Advanced Media writing code that helps to organize and analyze data for and from marketing sponsorships.
“I do data-based analysis,” Brooks said. “I’ve just been doing that for them remotely and part-time since 2016. I was there as an intern when I was at Fordham and then full-time after I graduated for almost two years.”
Naturally, Brooks incorporates this data analysis into her coaching. She tries to steer clear from typical box score statistics and sees more value in data, like what each player does on a 1-2 count or how many times a player hits first-pitch strikes.
“I think just the more information you have, the better you can be,” Brooks said.
Brooks spent the last three seasons as the head coach at Haverford College, where she coached 14 players to All-Centennial Conference honors and 13 to the conference’s academic honor roll. In her first season, she was named the Centennial Coach of the Year after leading the team to the program’s second highest win-percentage ever.
Prior to Haverford, Brooks also served as head coach at Pacific Lutheran University and as a graduate assistant and head coach at John Carroll University. She led John Carroll to the program’s first ever NFCA Top-25 Poll appearance.
“I love coaching, I love educating, I love mentoring,” Brooks said. “I feel like each school gives you a different way of doing that. St. Joe’s gives you ample resources in order to be effective, not necessarily with wins, but just in the influence and the impact that you have on student-athletes.”
Orchard is convinced that Brooks will do a great job in her new role and have no problem continuing to bring great players to the program.
“I think recruiting for her is going to be key,” Orchard said. “She’s so likable and she’s genuine and honest, so I think that’s going to be a huge thing for her and obviously St. Joe’s. I think she gets the most out of everyone who wants to play for her.”
Following a 25-28 season that placed the Hawks as the third seed for the Atlantic 10 Championship, Brooks hopes the team will develop this upcoming season.
“I have high hopes for what we can put together on the field, I’m very optimistic about that,” Brooks said. “This program at this school has the ability to be at the top of the A-10 conference. That’s where we want to be.”