Jacqui Sheftz built Masuk High softball into one of the state’s premier programs, but she’s ready to move on.
Sheftz, on Tuesday, announced her resignation as Masuk’s softball coach, ending her successful 14-year stint in Monroe.
“This is a very difficult decision for me,” Sheftz said by phone. “This is a very emotional time. Masuk is my alma mater. It’s an enormous part of my life. It’s all I really know.”
During Sheftz’s tenure at Masuk, the Panthers won three state championships, including back-to-back LL crowns in 2007 and 2008, and were semifinalists seven of the last nine years. They also ruled the SWC, winning six league titles since 2005.
“As far as conversations dating back to February and March, it became extremely clear it was time to move on,” said Sheftz, who’s recorded a 286-101 career record between 14 seasons at Masuk and two at Staples.
The preseason state No. 1, Masuk went 19-4 this season. The Panthers lost in the South-West Conference semifinals to Oxford 1-0, then fell in the Class L second round to Sacred Heart Academy 3-1. Sheftz was named the Softball Coach of the Year by the CHSCA.
Sheftz also resigned as Masuk’s field hockey coach. Her longtime assistants on both staffs, Kelly Larsen and Erica Christopher, also stepped down from their positions.
In a sport dominated by pitching, the Panthers were well equipped under Sheftz.
First, there was arguably the state’s greatest hurler, Rachele Fico, who recorded 26 perfect games (a national high school record), 47 no-hitters and 95 shutouts from 2006 to 2009. Fico was followed by Tatum Buckley, who just concluded a stellar senior season, notching a 0.10 ERA with 295 strikeouts. Both pitchers were two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year honorees.
“We had wonderful student athletes that really bought into the system,” Sheftz said. “Between the student athletes and the parents, they really believed what the program stood for. … We were a family.”
Sheftz engineered Masuk to a 27-0 record in 2013, along with SWC and Class L titles. The Panthers also finished undefeated with a pair of titles in 2008.
Sheftz did not rule out coaching elsewhere in the future.
“I have a great love and passion for coaching high school athletics,” she said. “This isn’t a retirement. This is a resignation. … I look forward to exploring new high school coaching opportunities as they arise.”
Masuk athletic director John DeGennaro did not return a call seeking comment on Sheftz’s departure.
Sheftz at a Glance
Career Record: 286-101 (Masuk: 1998-1999, 2003-2014; Staples: 2001-2002)
State championships: 3 (2007-LL, 2008-LL, 2013-L)
SWC championships: 6 (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013)
Awards: 2014 CHSCA Outstanding Softball Coach of the Year; 2013 and 2014 CHSCA Class L Coach of the Year; 2013 NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year.