CHESTERTOWN — Lacey Lister Lord is returning to her alma mater Salisbury University as the head softball coach.
Lord is leaving Washington College after 12 seasons, the longest tenured coach in program history and the only one to win a conference championship and gain a national ranking.
“While I am sad to be leaving Washington College and the amazing people I work with, I am extremely excited to be heading back ‘home’ to SU!,” Lord wrote in a Thursday, June 11 email to the Kent County News.
Washington announced Lord’s resignation in a news release June 10, the same day Salisbury announced her hiring.
A national search for Washington’s next coach will begin soon, according to the college’s news release.
“We cannot thank Lacey enough for all that she has done the last 12 years, not only for our softball team but for the department and college as a whole,” Washington College Athletic Director Thad Moore said in a prepared statement.
Moore said Lord “will always be a part of our family and will be sorely missed.”
At Salisbury, Lord is succeeding her mentor Margie Knight, who retired after 24 years as head coach.
“I am elated that another proud Sea Gull has come back to take the helm of the softball program,” Knight said in a prepared statement. “Coach Lord has the experience to lead this program to even greater heights with her knowledge as a player and coach, her will to win, tremendous focus and work ethic.”
Knight added, “I know the players will welcome her with open arms and she will allow them to reach their full potential. I wish her the best of luck and I look forward to seeing her and the players’ continued success on and off the field. Go Gulls!”
Knight announced in February she was retiring at the conclusion of the 2020 season at her alma mater. The Sea Gulls were 17-3 when sporting events across the country were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lord, who graduated from Salisbury in 2006, began her coaching career the following year as an assistant to Knight. She spent two seasons as the Sea Gulls’ pitching coach, while also coordinating practices and recruiting.
Her next stop was Chestertown in 2009.
Lord turned a program at Washington that had only four winning seasons and one Centennial Conference Tournament appearance prior to her arrival into a perennial contender in the conference.
A three-time Centennial Conference Coach of the Year, Lord took guided Washington to seven Centennial tournaments.
Lister and her 2013 team, which won a program-record 27 games and a conference title, were honored during Washington’s hall of fame induction ceremony in 2017. Ten of the 20 players on that team earned All-Centennial Conference recognition during their careers.
Washington in 2013 defeated Utica in nine innings, 11-6, in the first round of the national softball tournament to become the college’s first women’s team in any sport to win an NCAA Tournament game.
The following year, Washington received its first and to date its only national ranking.
The Shore ladies were 6-8 when the 2020 season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lord also was Washington’s head volleyball coach for four seasons (2009-2012). In 2011, she coached the Shore netters to their first winning season since 1993.
A Denton native, Lord was an all-star athlete at North Caroline High School.
She elevated her game at Salisbury, where she was one of the most dominant pitchers in all of Division III softball during her four years as a Sea Gull. She was the Capital Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year in 2003 and the conference’s Player of the Year in 2004, ’05 and ’06.
She was a four-time All-American, earning first-team honors as a senior, and a four-time all-region player — in addition to her four years as a first-team All-CAC performer.
Lord holds the Salisbury records for career strikeouts (1,096) and career victories (105), and remains among the all-time elite pitchers in NCAA Division III history.
In Lord’s four years at Salisbury, the Sea Gulls won four Capital Athletic Conference championships and played in four NCAA Tournaments.
In 2015 she was named to the Capital Athletic Conference Silver Anniversary Team as one of the 25 best softball players in the 25-year history of the then-eight-school conference.
She entered the Maryland Fast Pitch Softball Hall of Fame in 2016.
In 2007, Lord became the fifth person in Salisbury University history to have their jersey retired. She was inducted into the SU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017.