Coach Lloyd: 21 years of softball team success

Janet Lloyd has been the women's softball team coach since 1999. Photo by Madeleine Caraluzzi.

Janet Lloyd has been the women’s softball team coach since 1999. Photo by Madeleine Caraluzzi.

The Chapman softball team has one of the richest winning traditions out of all the teams on the Chapman campus, largely thanks in part to Head Coach Janet Lloyd.

Lloyd has 581 wins since taking over as head coach in 1995 – the most wins in Chapman history by a coach in any sport. Before Lloyd was a head coach, she was an assistant under her father, Lisle Lloyd, beginning in 1985 after she graduated from Chapman. They then became co-head coaches until 1999 when Lloyd took over sole responsibility of the job from her father.

“I started playing for him when I was 8 years old and he coached me all throughout,” Lloyd said. “Then coaching with him, he taught me a lot about recruiting, as far as going for players even if you don’t think you can get them, not to give up on players just because they’re perceived Division I athletes. He taught me about the interesting parts of the game like small ball and squeezing. I still do a lot of that today and people tell me that it reminds them a lot of my dad. We had that father-daughter relationship where we butted heads a lot, but there’s so much that I learned and took away from playing for him and coaching with him.”

Lloyd won her 535th game in 2013, passing her father as Chapman’s all-time winningest coach. Under Lloyd, Chapman made the playoffs 12 times in her first 14 years, winning seven regional championships and a national championship in 1995. Since joining the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2013, her teams have made the conference tournament twice in her coruscating tenure.

“Coach Lloyd, like many of our coaches, has been at Chapman for quite some time,” said Director of Athletics Terry Boesel. “Any time a person has been with an institution for an extended period of time, they know the culture of the university, its history and all its little nuisances.”

On two separate occasions, in 2003 and 2005, the Chapman softball coaching staff was named the West Region Coaching Staff of the Year. Despite all her accomplishments, Lloyd still has one goal she would like to accomplish.

“I have an ultimate goal. I think it’s attainable. No program in any division has ever done it,” Lloyd said. “We’ve won the highest GPA in the nation twice, and we’ve won a national championship once. We’re looking to do both in the same year. When we’re out recruiting, we not only look for players that can play, but also student-athletes that do well in the classroom. So that’s what keeps me motivated, trying to reach that goal.”

Head Coach Janet Lloyd gives her team instructions before heading to the field against Whittier College April 19. Photo by Sergio Zaciu.

Head Coach Janet Lloyd (gray shirt) gives her team instructions before heading to the field against Whittier College April 19. Photo by Sergio Zaciu.

Under Lloyd, 78 Panthers have been named to the All-Region team and 23 have been All-Americans, as well as 25 Academic All-District selections and three Academic All-Americans. The most recent All-Region player was pitcher Natalie Both in 2013. Both, who is graduating this year, had nothing but positive things to say of her coach.

“Janet helped me grow not only as an athlete but also as a person in my four years here at Chapman,” Both said.

Before Lloyd was a player at Chapman,   she played on a California State University, Fullerton team that finished third in the College World Series in 1982. She led the nation in home runs in two straight seasons, earning All-American honors in both seasons. She was also named an All-American at Chapman, where she played under her father.

“I played at Cal State Fullerton for three years and injured my knee, and they told me to either play injured or pack my bags,” she said. “I had doctors telling me I needed ACL surgery, so I packed my bags. I ended up playing for my dad at Chapman when he first started coaching here and then coached under him. I just wanted to continue being on the ball field.”

While the Chapman softball team did not have the season it hoped for in 2016, as it finished seventh out of eight conference teams, the team returns all but five players next season.

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