Banford Talks About Decision to Leave UMD
Softball Coach Turned Down a Contract Offer from the School
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UMD Softball opens its season Thursday, however hits, runs, and errors were far from the players’ minds as the Bulldogs boarded busses Tuesday, bound for Monticello, Arkansas.
Their thoughts were with Coach Jen Banford and her decision not to accept UMD’s contract offer.
That announcement came Monday shortly after Banford informed the school.
Both sides confirm the offer included a pay cut. The school says the lower salary reflected Banford no longer holding the job of Director of Women’s Hockey Operations and was in line with other Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Softball coaches.
Banford says her relationship with UMD Was damaged beyond repair because of the situation with Shannon Miller and the Women’s Hockey team.
She says now she has to get her team focused on softball and having a successful season.
“You have to tell your team that you can’t accept that offer,” said Banford. “I never want to disappoint them and let them down. As a coach leading in to the season, I don’t want the focus to be me, the focus needs to be them.”
“She’s a successful coach, a big person in the community, is very kind,” said Junior Ashley Lewis. “It doesn’t really make sense to us. It’s a very big distraction, especially the day before we leave when all we want to do is play softball.”
“If anything, I think it’s going to bring us closer together and act as motivation for us to go out and have a successful season and finish strong for coach,” added Junior Sami Schnyder. “We’ll have her go out with a bang.”